Stoke City F.C. forward Marko Arnautovic has insisted he is happy at the club amid reports claiming he could leave the Britannia Stadium in the summer.
The Austria international, who joined the Potters from Werder Bremen for just £2 million in September 2013, has turned out to be one of the signings of the season despite initial concerns about his character.
Arnautovic has primarily been used in wide areas by Stoke boss Mark Hughes but the 24-year-old has still managed to tally three goals and seven assists in 32 appearances in all competitions.
The former Internazionale and Twente star has been on a purple patch of form in recent weeks, fueling speculation suggesting he could return to Italy or Germany when the transfer window re-opens in the summer.
However, Arnautovic has moved to play down the aforementioned reports, insisting he is more than happy to stay at Stoke City.
“Yes, I hope to be here for some years,” said the Austrian ace.
“I just arrived, so I cannot say I want to go in a minute.
“I like it here. I think the people have taken me into the group and helped me to settle in. I am happy to be here and the people are very friendly.”
Adjusting to the rigors of the English Premier League is no easy feat but Arnautovic has been able to adapt rather quickly, much to the delight of Mark Hughes.
“It is hard football here,” added Arnautovic. “People tackle a lot, but I like it and am happy.
“It is quick football here and it is the best league in the world. You have to deal with it.
“Before I came I didn’t play too often in my other team, so my fitness was a little bit down and I think I needed one or two months to get it back.
“For me now it is okay. I think I can run the whole game and feel very fit.”
Arnautovic, who has tallied two goals and five assists in 25 Premier League appearances for the Potters in 2013/14, is priced at 7/1 to open the scoring when Stoke host Newcastle United at the weekend.
Lamela ‘probably’ out for season
Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood does not expect club record signing Erik Lamela to play again this season.
Lamela, 22, joined Spurs from Italian Serie A side A.S. Roma in a deal initially worth £25.8 million, which could rise to £30 million with add-ons, but has failed to establish himself as a first-team regular at White Hart Lane.
The Argentina international has endured a nightmare debut campaign for Tottenham, with injuries and a supposed lack of form having relegated the 22-year-old to the bench for much of 2013/14.
“He isn’t fit to play,” Sherwood said.
“He’s been unfortunate with injuries and it’s a shame that he’s picked up the knocks because taking the settling in period aside, how are you meant to settle when you can’t go out there and perform because you’ve had this serious back injury?
“He’s probably not going to play this season.”
Lamela, who was named man-of-the-match in the UEFA Europa League match against FC Sheriff Tiraspol on 24 October, has made nine Premier League appearances, including just three starts, for Tottenham this season.