(Reuters) – Manuel Pellegrini believes forward Marko Arnautovic is “happy” at West Ham United despite reports linking him with a move away and has urged the Austrian to prove it with his performances.
Arnautovic told Austrian newspaper Kurier last week he wanted “to compete with the very best”, while his brother and agent Danijel said the 29-year-old must “play for a top team” to fulfill his potential.
Manager Pellegrini said he understood the player’s ambition but was confident about his commitment to the London club.
“I know Marko. I know the way he thinks,” the Chilean told reporters.
“I think that every player in every team must have an ambitious mind and want to continue improving his career.
“But I am sure he is happy here and the best way to (show) it is to continue having good performances.”
Arnautovic, who joined the club from Stoke City in July 2017, has contributed five league goals for West Ham this season but a recurring knee injury has kept him on a limited training schedule for the majority of the campaign.
“Marko has had a difficult season in that sense,” Pellegrini said ahead of Saturday’s home game against his former club Manchester City.
“He has not been able to work a complete week from the beginning because of his knee. But in these two weeks he has had no problem.
“I expect him to give his maximum performance in every game. He has a lot of power and scores goals. I expect him to do a complete season in the way he did for half a season last year.”
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney)