Hammers near Gomez deal but Arnautovic says he wants to stay

Marko Arnautovic has said he is staying at West Ham

 West Ham United are in talks to sign striker Maxi Gomez for what would be a club-record €50million.

The Uruguayan's current club, Celta Vigo, are insisting that the release clause in Gomez's contract is met in full, although discussions are ongoing.

West Ham have decided to pursue their interest in Gomez despite Marko Arnautovic's decision to stay at the club following recent interest from a Chinese Super League club.

Arnautovic, who was left out of last Saturday's defeat away to Bournemouth because he was not in the right frame of mind, announced yesterday that he now wants to "put a stop" to speculation and remain in east London.

"I want to put offers aside, help the club climb as high as possible in the table and try to win the Cup," he said in a post on Instagram.

"I guess it's no secret there has been an offer for me and I have to admit the offer was a very tempting one for me and my family.

"I have given 100pc to my club duties but I have also needed some time to talk to my club, my wife and the rest of my family. I have now decided to put a stop to all the writings and speculation.

"It is clear that London and West Ham United feels like home for me and I hope the West Ham fans have always seen that. Let's focus on the rest of this season together and let those bubbles fly."

Gomez, 22, has scored nine goals this season for Celta Vigo having joined the struggling La Liga club on a five-year contract in 2017.

If West Ham agree to pay the release clause it will beat their previous transfer record, the €42m they paid to sign Felipe Anderson from Lazio last summer. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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Cardiff weigh up legal action over Sala losses

Cardiff City could launch a negligence claim over the Emiliano Sala plane disaster as the club faces a financial loss of around £14m even after insurance payouts.

Senior figures at the club are increasingly concerned by the decision to fly their record signing across the English Channel in a single-engined plane built in 1984 and piloted by a part-time gas engineer.

Cardiff are now considering their legal position as they face a three-year contract bill estimated by accountants at £30m, including a £2.5m agents' fee.

Accident insurance is likely to cover only half the forecasted loss and one source has indicated that payments from Cardiff to Nantes have been frozen until officials have established the facts from the crash.

A £20m transfer fee had been agreed with Nantes, including a £3m bonus if the club survived relegation.

Sala had been due at his first training session in Wales last Tuesday and the transfer documents had already been filed with the FA and FIFA.

Cardiff "will pay whatever is due, once they have established all the answers and can determine all the facts", a source said.

Wolves and Villa eye up Austin move

Charlie Austin is set to leave Southampton this month with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa among those interested in the striker, who wants regular game-time elsewhere.

The 29-year-old is understood to have come to an agreement with the club that he can leave for the right price having struggled recently to force his way into Ralph Hasenhuttl's new-look team.

Austin has started just twice in the league since Hasenhuttl took over in early December and the Austrian has tended to play a formation with just a single striker.

The club have rejected offers already for Austin that did not meet their valuation.

However, the relationship with the player is such that they will not price him out of a move.

Austin's contract runs out in the summer of next year.

The club have already sent the striker Manolo Gabbiadini to Sampdoria on loan this month with an obligation for the Italians to buy in the summer.

Cedric Soares will go on loan to Inter Milan with a view to a permanent move. Wesley Hoedt has already joined Celta Vigo on loan.

Wolves are eager to add to their attacking options this window and have looked at Austin with a view to a permanent deal.

Aston Villa also want to strengthen their forward line with Chelsea loan striker Tammy Abraham unlikely to stay beyond the summer.