No Arnautovic movement yet

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has revealed there is still no movement in a proposed exit for striker Marko Arnautovic.

The Austrian's agent last week suggested his brother wanted a move to China, with West Ham reportedly having been offered £35m for a player they acquired for £20m last year from Stoke City.

The Hammers however released a statement suggesting they would not be willing to sell, insisting Arnautovic had a contract they anticipated he would honour.

Ahead of this weekend's trip to Bournemouth, where West Ham are 9/5 to win, Pellegrini has revealed the forward is working well in training.

"He is working with the team without any problem. He has a contract here so we will know what happens with that in the coming days," said the Chilean.

Meanwhile Pellegrini has suggested that former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has returned to English football with a point to prove.

The 31-year-old ex-French international impressed last weekend on his debut as West Ham overcame Arsenal at the London Stadium.

"He has a lot of quality, in the way he wants to get some revenge in football. His quality, we never had any doubts about him," Pellegrini said.

West Ham are 18/1 to beat Bournemouth 2-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, while the game is 13/5 to end level.

Last weekend's match-winner Declan Rice continues to impress his boss.

"He is a player that will continue improving, he is just 20-years-old so he has a lot of time to continue growing as a player. I think he can play both positions [centre back and midfield] but I repeat that he is improving every day," added the West Ham boss.

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Pellegrini: Rice becoming top player

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini feels match-winner Declan Rice is on the road to becoming a 'complete player' after his goal in a 1-0 win over Arsenal.

The teenager scored shortly after half-time, firing a shot into the roof of the net having been teed-up by former Gunners midfielder Samir Nasri on his West Ham bow.

Rice, who can play at centre-back or in centre midfield, has been in the headlines recently as his international future draws attention.

He has earned three caps for the Republic of Ireland, all in friendlies, and the London-born man could yet decide to declare for England.

He was named man of the match after West Ham's lunchtime win over Arsenal and his manager feels he has the attributes to go right to the top.

"He is improving in every game," Pellegrini told Sky Sports.

"He has showed good technique and is good in aerial duels, I think we are seeing the complete player. At 19-years-old, I am sure we will see a top, top player."

Rice meanwhile admitted he was elated to nail his first Premier League goal, especially after missing a headed chance in the first half. He revealed his teammates have encouraged him to try his luck more often.

"I can't put it into the words. The lads are always on at me to take the shot on more. I have been getting into the box more recently and I was gutted with missing the header in the first half.

Arsenal failed to create the sort of scoring chances many would have expected and Pellegrini felt his players carried out their game plan effectively. If any side was going to score the games' second goal, the Chilean suggested it would have been West Ham

"I was pleased with the balance and consistency of the team. We did not allow Arsenal any chances despite their quality of players. We played with a mentality of a big team, always going for the second goal," he added.

West Ham are 2/1 to win their next game at Bournemouth next Saturday. The Cherries are 13/10 with the draw priced at 12/5.

Irons aiming to keep Arnautovic

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is eager to keep Marko Arnautovic at the club until at least the end of the season, amid talk of a big-money move to China.

The 29-year-old Austria international forward is reported to be the subject of a major bid from a Chinese club, with the player seemingly keen to explore the option.

However, ahead of a Saturday lunchtime Premier League derby clash with Arsenal, Pellegrini says he expects his player to focus on the job in hand.

He told reporters: "Those are all rumours. We know we have a very good player in Marko, a lot of clubs may want him to play for them. At the moment we have no news about him.

"I don't want to talk about things that might happen. Marko in this moment is a player of our team – players of his quality and other players like Declan Rice, Felipe Anderson, other clubs will want them, but that is one thing. I don't think they will go.

"I want to keep him, of course, but you never know what might happen in the future. Marko and all the other players involved in rumours have their heads here."

Arnautovic's brother and agent, Danijel, had earlier told Talksport: "West Ham bought Marko for peanuts. They paid £20million for him, which is nothing in the current market.

"They bought him to keep them in the Premier League last season and he did that. Now West Ham have a fantastic offer, which is close to double what they paid for him.

"He wants to go to a new market and challenge for titles."

The Hammers are 13/5 to win on Saturday and are 12/1 to do so by a 2-1 scoreline, with Arnautovic 11/8 to score at any time in the game.

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Pellegrini calms Arnautovic fears

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has played down the severity of the back problem which forced Marko Arnautovic off early on in the FA Cup win over Birmingham City.

The Austria forward opened the scoring in the 2-0 win over the Blues at the London Stadium, with just two minutes on the clock.

However, he was then substituted 20 minutes into the game, with Arnautovic annoyed as he appeared to feel that he was okay to carry on.

Afterwards, Hammers head coach Pellegrini seemed unconcerned by either the injury or the touchline exchanges which followed the withdrawal of Arnautovic.

He said: "It's not very important because we won the game and he scored a goal.

"He felt some pain in his back at the beginning, I thought that it was better to change him because he is just coming off another injury and he played 90 minutes less than 72 hours ago.

"After that he could continue, but I think it was not good to take the risk. He was angry for just one minute – that is it. He wanted to continue.

"Maybe (he signalled) for the change, but after that he felt well. He doesn't have a problem, just some pain in his back and nothing more."

The Irons are back in action on Saturday when they play host to Arsenal, with the clash between the London rivals at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season having ended 3-1 to the hosts.

West Ham are 5/2 to defeat Arsenal next weekend, with a 2-2 draw priced at 11/1, while a 2-1 final scoreline in favour of the hosts is 12/1.

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Pellegrini eyes European opportunity

Head coach Manuel Pellegrini says his West Ham side should take the FA Cup very seriously this season, with a route back into European football on offer.

The Hammers started December by winning four Premier League games in a row, only to stutter over the festive period by claiming just one victory in their last four outings.

Next on the agenda is an FA Cup third-round visit from Championship play-off hopefuls Birmingham City, with Pellegrini clearly wanting to see his team try and make progress in the competition.

The Chilean told reporters: "To win a title with West Ham is one of the targets. I will always try to win. The FA Cup is a very important trophy and for any manager it's important to try to win.

"In this moment, we are at the beginning of the cup. We will try to continue in the FA Cup, like every other team.

"It's another option to win a title and another opportunity to qualify for Europe, so we will fight until the end."

Meanwhile, Pellegrini also confirmed that recent signing Samir Nasri will play some part in the game against the Blues on Saturday, adding: "Samir will be in the squad. We will see if he will start playing, but he will be important this year.

"He is looking well and he has lost some weight. I think football is like riding a bicycle, you never forget. He is motivated and working hard."

The Londoners are 1/2 to defeat Birmingham in 90 minutes and are 7/1 to claim a 1-0 victory, with the Irons 33/1 to go all the way and win the FA Cup this season, having already done so three times in their history.

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Nasri signing bolsters Hammers

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is hopeful that attacking midfielder Samir Nasri will make a positive impact for the Hammers in the second half of the season.

The 31-year-old France international has been training with the Premier League club for some time in a bid to earn a contract, having been forced to take time away from the game due to off-field issues.

And his efforts have paid off, with Pellegrini happy to work with Nasri again, having previously been in charge of the player at Manchester City.

The Chilean told his club's official website: "He is a player I obviously know well from our time together at Manchester City.

"He has been working very hard here in recent weeks to build up his fitness and condition after a long period without playing and he is now very determined to return to his best.

"Samir will give us another dimension in our attacking play. He already has very good experience of the Premier League and we hope that he will have a positive impact on the team between now and the end of the season."

Nasri started his career with Marseille, before enjoying spells with Arsenal and the Citizens, while he has also featured for Sevilla and Antalyspor.

He has won 41 caps for his country, while in his time in Manchester he helped City to two Premier League titles and a League Cup success.

West Ham can be backed at 4/6 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season and are 40/1 to claim a top-six finish.

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Pellegrini: We lacked energy

Manuel Pellegrini blamed tiredness for his West Ham United side's poor performance in Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Burnley.

Goals from Chris Wood and Dwight McNeil secured victory for Sean Dyche's side who could easily have won the match by a much wider margin.

The Hammers had been in a run of good form and a victory at Turf Moor would have lifted them up to seventh in the table but they produced a lack-lustre display against the Clarets, 4/11 to be relegated this season.

West Ham had played on Thursday at Southampton, 24 hours after Burnley had been thrashed 5-1 at home by Everton.

Pellegrini thought that had been a factor in his side's limp display, with the Chilean saying: "It's frustrating because we wanted to win this game.

"It was a good opportunity to go to seventh position in the table but I think we lacked the energy to win it. We arrived back from Southampton at 2am on Friday, and then 48 hours later I am sure that affected the recovery because that's the only reason why we played the way we did.

"It wasn't only that we didn't create many chances, they also created a lot of chances. 2-0 was not the score that they deserved – they deserved at least a couple more."

West Ham are 19/20 to defeat Brighton on Wednesday and 7/1 to beat the Seagulls 1-0.

Anderson’s form thrills Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini believes Felipe Anderson can get even better after watching the Brazilian star in West Ham United's 2-1 win at Southampton on Thursday.

The 25-year-old former Lazio star scored both the Hammers' goals at St Mary's to bring his tally for the first half of the season up to eight.

The victory was West Ham's fifth in six Premier League matches and lifted them up to ninth in the table.

"I am happy," Pellegrini said. "When you start with zero points in 12 then it's always difficult to recover your position in this way.

"In this moment, we are in the top 10. We will continue fighting and try to finish the season as near the top of the table as we can."

The Chilean said of Anderson: "He's a different player. He's a player that makes important things in every game.

"I continue to think that he will continue to improve. He is still losing too many balls; maybe he needs to understand that it's not easy in the Premier League."

West Ham, 8/13 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season, are 5/4 to beat Burnley on Sunday with Anderson available at 12/5 to score at any time against the Clarets at Turf Moor.

Hernandez may miss Saints test

Manuel Pellegrini has indicated that Javier Hernandez could miss West Ham United's Premier League encounter at Southampton on Thursday.

It is a blow for the Hammers who suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Watford on Saturday.

In contrast Saints are on a high after defeating Arsenal and Huddersfield Town in their last two fixtures.

Pellegrini is keen to secure a victory on the south coast and bring the first half of the campaign to a successful conclusion.

"We have the last game of the first part of the season. If you tell me after we lost four games [at the start of the season] that we can finish with 27 points, I’d think that would be a good first round for us," Pellegrini said.

"We know we have to play a good game against a team that have won their last two games. We will try to recover the points that we lost at home. We will try to add three points more to get to 27."

Marko Arnautovic is not quite ready to return to action while Lucas Perez remains sidelined and Hernandez is a doubt.

Pellegrini added: "Javier had a kick in his back during the week before Watford.

"He couldn't work in midweek. Now against Watford he had the same problem with some strain in his hamstring.

"Unfortunately for us we have eight players without the option to return soon. Maybe Marko Arnautovic can be, I don't know about against Southampton, but soon.

"We need now to see about Chicharito but we need to trust the squad and try to make a good rotation."

West Ham are 12/5 to beat Southampton and 12/1 to win the match from behind.

Pellegrini eyes top six place

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini says that the side's current good run has him aiming for a place in the top six of the Premier League by the end of the season.

The Hammers, under their new boss, made a difficult start to the season, losing their first four games to sit bottom of the table.

However, they quickly recovered and have won their last four in a row to leave them safely in the top half of the table, sitting ninth, just two points behind Manchester United in sixth.

Pellegrini's side entertain Watford on Saturday and, ahead of the match, the Hammers boss told a press conference, that he was now looking towards the top of the table rather than down.

He said: "The most important thing is to be in the top six at the end of the season.

"There are still 21 games to go. We are in a good moment now so we must try to take it game by game and add points."

West Ham are 11/8 to make it five in a row on Saturday with the Hornets 21/10 and the draw 5/2.

Meanwhile, Pellegrini said the club were hopeful of putting a deal in place to sign the ex-Arsenal and Manchester City player Sami Nasri.

The 31-year-old is training with the Hammers in a bid to earn a contract and Pellegrini said: "We are going to take the decision next week.

"Sami is working with us very well, he is losing weight, his mentality is to try and have a spot here with the squad, so we will see in the next days."

Marko Arnautovic and Jack Wilshere are both still missing for the Hammers ahead of the weekend and long-term injuries affect Andriy Yarmolenko, Carlos Sanchez, Manuel Lanzini, Ryan Fredericks and Winston Reid, with all expected to miss the busy Christmas period.

West Ham are 1/2 to finish in the top half of the Premier League while they are 16/1 to make the top six.

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