News of Marko Arnoutovic rejecting a contract extension at Stoke City has reportedly put Paris Saint-Germain on high alert, according to the Daily Mail.
Having scouted the Austrian international for some time, now may be the best time for the swoop, given the uncertainty surrounding the player’s future. But is Arnautovic the much-needed replacement for the out-going Ezequiel Lavezzi that PSG need?
On the back of Arnautovic’s great form this season, Stoke are keen to tie down the winger for longer than the 18 months he currently has left on his contract.
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The Austrian is reportedly demanding £80,000-a-week, which would take him above the current highest earner Xherdan Shaqiri and break the Premier League club’s current wage structure.
The Qatari-backed French side would have little trouble meeting his wage request, as well as the offer of Champions League football as a means of tempting him.
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There is every chance Arnautovic and his agent are using his current importance to the side and outside interest to bully Stoke into caving to his terms. However if they refuse to budge, PSG should be on hand to swoop in, especially given his form this season.
Signed for just £2 million from Werder Bremen, the potters stand to make a significant profit on a player who has been a revelation this season.
He along with Shaqiri and Bojan, form the mercurial trio of players that have taken the Premier League by storm this season.
PSG have reportedly been scouting the forward for the past two years, though a major deterrent in the past would have likely been the 26-year-old’s reputation as a troublemaker. The maturity he has displayed during his time in England makes a move for the attacker a more attractive proposition.
It is little secret that this season will be Lavezzi’s last in Paris. Unused and out of contract the Argentine looks set to leave.
The winger has been linked with a move back to Italy, however very few sides are willing to match the wages he currently earns at PSG, meaning he will most likely leave in the summer.
Lavezzi had made that left wing spot his own as a first team regular during his first three seasons with the Parisians. However the ageing Argentine has found minutes at a premium this season, mainly being used as a substitute.
If anything, Arnautovic may look at Lavezzi’s current situation, as well as those currently experienced by Lucas Moura and Adrien Rabiot as cause for concern.
Despite his improved form, it is questionable whether the Austrian international can have a profound impact on the starting XI.
The 26-year-old has relished playing a weekly starting role with Stoke, but may not get that in France. Having failed at a number of clubs over the course of his career, his exploits with Stoke marks one of the few times he has shown such quality for a prolonged period of time.
However half a good season shouldn't send PSG scurrying to England to thrash out a deal. Should this purple patch continue through until May, perhaps Arnautovic will seem a more attractive option.
Does Arnautovic's form this season warrant a move to a bigger club? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!