Marko Arnautovic, Stoke City’s leading scorer this season, has turned down a contract offer at the Britannia Stadium as he tries to hold out for a better deal.
Arnautovic has emerged as one of the players of the season for Stoke and has scored seven times so far, including pivotal strikes in the wins over Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Everton.
Paris Saint-Germain are understood to be interested in his signature, while Stoke’s Premier League rivals will also be watching intently should the club fail to secure the Austria international’s services.
Mark Hughes, the Stoke manager, will be reluctant to let the striker – who has attracted comparisons with Zlatan Ibrahimovic – leave the Potteries. The three-pronged attack of Arnautovic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan Krkic has caught the eye this season with some scintillating performances.
Arnautovic joined Stoke for £2m from Werder Bremen in September 2013. The forward is holding out for a deal worth £80,000 a week, but the club are refusing to accept such an increase and talks are now on hold.
Hughes alluded to Arnautovic’s situation after the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool on Tuesday.
He said: “Marko is one of those players we’d like to do something with and it’s taking a little bit longer. It is what it is, but the intention is there to keep our good players if we can.”