West Ham United can land Stoke City’s attacking midfielder Marko Arnautovic by paying the Potters’ asking price of £22.5 million, according to The Daily Mail.
The Hammers are desperate for attacking recruits this summer, with the only addition to Slaven Bilic’s squad so far the free transfer acquisition of veteran right-back Pablo Zabaleta.
West Ham struggled in the final third last season due to injuries and the poor form of loanees such as Jonathan Calleri and Simone Zaza, with the Irons faithful hoping for additional firepower to be added in the next six weeks.
Arnautovic looks set on a move to the London Stadium but the clubs have been unable to reach agreement over a fee to make a deal happen.
The report suggests that Stoke want to clear £20 million from the Austria international’s sale, after 10 per cent goes towards agent costs.
Should West Ham pay the required fee to bring Arnautovic to London it would surpass the £20.5m they shelled out on Andre Ayew 12 months ago – and make the temperamental attacker the club’s record signing.
The Austrian would certainly add energy and quality in attacking areas, with the 28-year-old showing that he has what it takes to score and create goals in the Premier League.
However, Arnautovic’s purchase would surely only be half of the missing puzzle piece, with West Ham in dire need of a proven out-and-out striker to lead the line next season.
Michail Antonio ended last term as the club’s top scorer with a modest nine strikes, while Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho struggled for fitness.
Arnautovic’s signing would certainly be a statement of ambition from West Ham and go some way to placate a fanbase that is starting to get frustrated by the lack of summer recruits.