West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed that forward Marko Arnautovic is fit and available for the visit to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Austrian, who ended weeks of speculation around his future by signing a new contract at the London Stadium, missed Monday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool with a foot injury.
He said: “Marko is available for the weekend. He worked the complete week without problems. It is good news for us. He is a player who makes a difference and is important for our team.”
This season, Arnautovic has racked up eight goals in 19 appearances and has also created a further two for his teammates.
However, after a blistering start to the season which saw Arnautovic net four goals in his first six games, his form has slowed down slightly. The 29-year-old has just three goals in his last 11 matches, as he has struggled with various injuries.
“Marko is available for the weekend. He worked the complete week without problems. It is good news for us. He is a player who makes a difference and is important for our team.” – Manuel Pellegrini pic.twitter.com/GEQCeI0baD
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) February 8, 2019
He dominated the headlines for the majority of the January transfer window, seeing his name linked with a move to the Chinese Super League. Both Shanghai SIPG and Guangzhou Evergrande were credited with interest in the striker, and it was widely speculated that Arnautovic was keen on making the move.
However, with just days remaining in the transfer window, Arnautovic opted to renew to remain and fight for the club with whom he has spent the last three years.
The point against Liverpool has left West Ham 12th in the Premier League. The Hammers are targeting an impressive end to the season as they seek to secure qualification to the Europa League. They are six points behind seventh-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers, who earned a resounding 3-0 victory over West Ham in late January.