Manuel Pellegrini says that Marko Arnautovic will not be allowed to leave West Ham without his say-so, despite interest from Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG.
The Hammers have already rejected a £35m bid from Shanghai, but Arnautovic's head has been turned by the £200,000 a week wage packet that he would be picking up in China.
Senior figures at West Ham have insisted privately that Arnautovic will not be sold this month, and Pellegrini confirmed that the club's owners had left the decision in his hands.
"Absolutely, 100 per cent sure. I have the final say. If I say the player must stay, the player will stay," said Pellegrini, quoted by the Mirror.
"I don’t have any problem with the club. In all the months I’ve been working here, I never had any problems with the owners about that. So they are not forcing me to sell Marko Arnautovic.
"But I think, as a manager, the best thing is to take the solution that is best for the player and the club. Both together. If they agree, we don’t have any problem to change."
Although Pellegrini doesn't want to lose Arnautovic, he would prefer to let him go if he believes the Austrian's presence will harm the atmosphere in his squad.
"Yes, of course [we want it resolved]," said the Chilean. "Not only for the [issue of potentially signing a] replacement, I think all those rumours disturb the squad.
"As soon as those issues are resolved, it’s better for the players and the club. For everybody. Marko is one of the most important players we have, but the squad knows these things can happen."
West Ham won three out of four matches when Arnautovic was out injured last month, so there is evidence that they can survive and thrive without him.
Source : 90min