Marko Arnautovic Opens Up on West Ham Exit as Chinese Super League Prepares to Return

Shanghai SIPG forward Marko Arnautovic has opened up on his experiences in the Chinese Super League as the country's top flight prepares to resume action in June.

The 31-year-old, however, has not yet joined up with the rest of his teammates as he is stuck at his home in Germany during the ongoing global pandemic.

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But, speaking in an interview with LAOLA1, the Austrian international opened up on his controversial decision to leave West Ham and the Premier League to join Shanghai SIPG back in January 2019.

Arnautovic described England's top flight as the 'strongest league in the world' but suggested his reasons for wanting out of West Ham weren't purely economic.

The Austria international explained: "I wanted to see [China] and get to know a different culture in my life.

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"At the beginning you have to get to know the players, you need an interpreter because they don't speak English. But they welcomed me really well. It took some getting used to."

On the oft-maligned quality of football in China, Arnautovic added that Shanghai "have improved a lot."

Arnautovic's relationship with West Ham fans turned sour in the buildup to his 2019 exit, with the player admitting: "I have a kind of love-hate relationship with West Ham fans."

Asked if any criticism might have affected his performances, the 31-year-old added: "Anyone who has followed my career knows that I am immune to something like this. I'm not arrogant."

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"I was always labelled as the 'bad boy'. Because I became a father, a lot has changed, so in many situations you come across more calmly than before."

The 31-year-old former Stoke and Inter star scored an impressive 22 goals in 65 appearances for the Hammers across two seasons, before his somewhat acrimonious £22m exit.

Source : 90min