West Ham should demand £60million for wantaway striker Marko Arnautovic, says club legend Frank McAvennie.
The Hammers have received a £35m bid for their star man from an unnamed Chinese club.
But West Ham insist Arnautovic is not for sale, despite the plea from his brother Danijel, who acts as his agent, to let him go so he can “challenge for titles”.
And McAvennie, who scored 26 league goals as the Hammers finished third in their best ever top-flight season in 1986, believes the former Stoke star is worth much more than £35million.
He told talkSPORT.com: “Listen, if he’s adamant to go, West Ham should’ve put a release clause in his contract for £60million.
“But Mr [David] Sullivan and [David] Gold are not going to sell Arnie for £35million, not a chance. For £60million, they might let him go if that’s what he wants to do.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw the news because I understand £300k-a-week turns heads, but then all this nonsense about him wanting to win trophies and that kind of stuff – it’s China we’re talking about.
“The money nowadays, it doesn’t matter to footballers because they’re all wealthy boys. He’s not going there for a better standard of football. I think it might just be his brother talking.
“He’s paid them back with some great performances and he’s dragged them out of the mud, he’s done well.
“Arnie is only 29, he’s got a lot of years left. Go to China when you’re 32 or 33, don’t go there at the moment. You’ll still get big money in the next three years without going to China.
“Stay and make a name for yourself at West Ham – and have the big clubs fight for you.
“He keeps on kissing the badge and doing the Hammers sign, it’s time to show a wee bit of loyalty.
“He’s a good player. His brother is talking nonsense about medals and all that – they buy medals over there! You’ll get a medal just for going there. It’s the wrong thing to do.
Arnautovic has scored 19 goals since joining West Ham in a then club-record £20million deal from Stoke in July 2017.
He is hugely popular at the London Stadium, but fans could turn on the Austria international if he leaves at this critical stage of the season.
West Ham have lost just twice since November and are three points off a European place.
Despite the ongoing transfer saga, ex-Scotland striker McAvennie wants Arnautovic to play against Arsenal on Saturday.
He said: “I can’t be bothered when people say ‘his mind’s not right’.
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“It didn’t matter who I was arguing with, and I argued with every manager, when I stepped on that pitch, I did it for myself and the fans.
“It’s as simple as that. Arnie’s got to do it for himself, but firstly he’s got to do it for West Ham fans – they’ve been absolutely tremendous to him.
“He should play against Arsenal, show what you’re worth and say ‘I’m not going to let any of this bother me’”.