Manuel Pellegrini says he will not stop Marko Arnautovic moving to China if the price is right.
Arnautovic wants to quit West Ham for a big-money move to Shanghai SIPG, who are believed to be offering to almost treble his wages.
West Ham have turned down an initial bid and maintain they do not want to sell their joint top-scorer.
But if a satisfactory offer for the 29-year-old is received, Hammers boss Pellegrini will not stand in his way.
“If I say the player must stay, the player will stay,” he said.
“I don’t have any problem with the club. In all the months I’ve been working here I never had any problems with the owners about that.
“So they are not forcing me to sell Marko Arnautovic. But I think as a manager the best thing is to take the solution that is best for the player and the club, both together.
“If they agree, we don’t have any problem to change.
“I am not telling the club about it. If it’s a good deal for both parties we will arrange to be without Marko. But the club doesn’t want to sell him.”
Two seasons ago Dimitri Payet, another fans’ favourite at the London Stadium, refused to play until he got a move back to his former club Marseille.
Pellegrini says he does not blame Arnautovic for having his head turned but is convinced the Austrian forward will continue to do his best for the team, even if the move does not come off.
“Marko is working with the team without any problem,” said Pellegrini.
“When you have such a high offer, everyone wants to leave but he has a contract here and we will know what will happen about it in the coming days.
“Of course you can’t blame him, he knows what is the best option for him and now we will see what happens between the clubs. I don’t think that the player will refuse to play.”
Watford striker Troy Deeney has been fined £20,000 by the Football Association for his post-match comments after his side’s game at Bournemouth.
Deeney accused referee David Coote of “bottling” several decisions in his side’s 3-3 draw with the Cherries on January 2.
He admitted an FA charge, accepting that his interview “questioned the integrity of the match official and/or were personally offensive in relation to the match official”, the governing body announced.
The 30-year-old, who scored twice in the thrilling draw, felt Dan Gosling should have been sent off for a foul on Tom Cleverley and that his side should have been awarded a penalty after Nathan Ake handled the ball in the area.
He said on a Match of the Day interview: “I think the referee, to be fair, bottled it on a few occasions. There’s a handball right at the end. I’m not one to hammer refs, but he bottled it on a few occasions today.”
He was handed the fine following an independent regulatory commission hearing on Wednesday.
Watford boss Javi Gracia said he would not ask Deeney to be more mindful of his comments in future.
“All of my players show character and personality,” Gracia said. “Troy is Troy and I accept the way he is.
“Sometimes his words maybe sound different, but I know he is a very good person, and he helps the rest of the team. Everybody can make a mistake.
“Like all the players, sometimes he is right and sometimes he is wrong. He does a lot of things well and I prefer to give value to those things, and not the mistakes.”
After a week of some brilliant FA Cup and Carabao Cup action, the Premier League was back for the 22nd round of fixtures.
Liverpool bounced back from their defeat to Manchester City by grinding out a 1-0 win away to Brighton, whilst City remained in touching distance of the leaders by easily beating Wolves on Monday night.
Tottenham slipped further away from the top two after losing to Manchester United at Wembley, while Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle sees them move one point behind Spurs.
Unai Emery’s Arsenal lost to London rivals West Ham at the London Stadium, leaving them level on points with United.
Burnley’s third successive victory sees them move three points away from the relegation zone, whilst Southampton’s away victory over Leicester takes them into 16th place in the table.
Huddersfield’s draw with Cardiff City keeps the Terriers rock bottom, eight points away from safety.
Who stood out and who had a weekend to forget? Here are our winners and losers:
Jeff Hendrick – Burnley
Burnley knew that three points against fellow relegation strugglers Fulham would give them a massive boost and Hendrick was the one who inspired the Clarets to victory.
His two drilled crosses caused havoc in the penalty area, resulting in two Fulham players diverting the ball into their own net.
Sean Dyche’s side got a lot of luck in this match, but Hendrick’s desire to get the ball into the danger area paid off.
David De Gea – Manchester United
Spurs simply could not get the ball past the Spaniard at Wembley. De Gea made an incredible 11 saves in the match, which is the highest number he has made in a match where he has kept a clean sheet.
That’s two successive league clean sheets for the Red Devils, who are now looking solid in all areas of the pitch. De Gea proved on Sunday why he is one of the world’s best goalkeepers.
Gabriel Jesus – Manchester City
Jesus has started 2019 in incredible goalscoring form. He found the net twice to inspire City to victory over Wolves, meaning he has scored seven times in his last three appearances for City.
He has proven to Pep Guardiola that he can fill in for Sergio Aguero when he is absent and now, the manager has a tough decision to make about who to start in the next couple of games.
Yan Valery – Southampton
The young full-back had a half to forget at the King Power Stadium as he was sent off for two bookable offences.
The defender can have no complaints about either caution and showed his inexperience by pulling Marc Albrighton down to receive his second yellow.
His teammates were forced to defend resolutely for the entirety of the second half but luckily for him, they managed to come away with a crucial three points.
Willy Boly – Wolves
The Wolves centre-back has had a very impressive season so far and even managed to score against City in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
But his evening at the Etihad was cut short as he was given a straight red card in just the 19th minute for a challenge on Bernardo Silva.
You could argue that it was a very harsh sending off and Wolves will be tempted to appeal the decision to reduce his ban from three games to one.
The Terriers look doomed and have only picked up 11 points in 22 matches. To make matters worse, manager David Wagner announced that he is stepping down from his role as head coach, leaving the club in a dire condition.
Things only get worse for the club, as they will face free-flowing Manchester City next in the league.
Whoever the new manager is, he will need to perform a miracle to save the club from relegation this season.