The Marko Arnautovic saga took a sensational twist of Saturday night when West Ham revealed he had signed a contract extension.
The Austrian forward, 29, had been linked with a big-money move to China but has now committed his future to the Hammers.
We understands the new deal includes performance-related incentives and lasts until 2023. Arnautovic was previously offered £300,000 a week in China.
He told the club’s official website: ‘I’m happy for this and I want to say to the fans that I’m happy to stay, I glad to play again, show myself and score goals, to make assists, but also to say that the major point is Marko Arnautovic never refused [to play or train]. I would never refuse.
‘I’m happy, I’m happy to come to this point. I’m happy that this club is improving. Step by step, every week, every month we are seeing some improvement and that’s good .’
Arnautovic is now determined to help the Hammers finish as high as possible in the Premier League.
He added: ‘Our target, of course, is to climb as high as possible in the league table.
‘We need to start again taking some points. We know it won’t be easy against Wolverhampton away and Liverpool at home. It’s never easy in this league but I’m sure we have enough quality to win games and to climb as high as possible in the table and then we’ll see.
‘The fans gave me the power, they gave me the energy and that’s why I have to be here and that’s why I want to stay. I never wanted to run away because I hate this club, this was never my intention.
‘I love this club and I will always love this club no matter what. You have decisions you have to make in life, but I say from now it doesn’t matter what happens I will always love West Ham and it will always be a big part in my life. I love this happiness, so listen, I’m here, I’m ready. I hope the fans are also ready and we go again.’
West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini refused to answer any questions on Arnautovic and walked off after West Ham’s crushing FA Cup defeat by Wimbledon.
After the 4-2 loss, the club announced Arnautovic had signed a contract extension following weeks of speculation linking him to the Chinese Super League.
Asked about the Austrian’s new deal, Pellegrini said: ‘I only talk about the cup. Ask me about the game today and I will answer. Any other question I will not answer.’
Reporters then tried to reason with Pellegrini by saying Arnautovic had just signed a new contract, meaning it was relevant.
‘You are talking about the game?’ he said, before turning and storming down the tunnel.
Arnautovic was not in the squad against Wimbledon on Saturday night.
Asked about West Ham’s performance against Wimbledon, Pellegrini said he found it shameful to lose to the side sitting bottom of League One.
They trailed 2-0 at half time. On whether he was angry at half time in the dressing room, Pellegrini said: ‘Yes of course. I was ashamed of them. I didn’t expect.
‘Attitude, playing against a team that sits two divisions below us, but in football you can lose in two or three balls. They started the way we needed to start and when you have such high pace with the quality of the players and we didn’t have the same level.’
Despite signing a new deal, sources suspect Arnautovic will still leave in the summer. He can use the remainder of the season to prove why he is worthy of a lucrative move.