West Ham set to follow loan signing of Joe Hart with club record £24m signing of Stoke forward

Ross McLean
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Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League
Hart has joined West Ham on a season-long loan deal (Source: Getty)

West Ham are set to follow the season-long loan signing of England goalkeeper Joe Hart with the club record capture of Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic after agreeing a £24m fee with the Potters.

The Hammers moved closer to signing their target after two previous bids – believed to be £15m and £20m – for the 28-year-old, who scored seven goals in 35 matches across all competitions last season, were rejected.

West Ham are also hopeful of luring former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez to east London. The 29-year-old Mexico hitman has a £13m release clause in his contract at Bayer Leverkusen.

Hart, meanwhile, insists he is relishing the chance to relaunch his Premier League career after completing his loan move to West Ham from Manchester City yesterday.

Two-time Premier League champion Hart had been told by City boss Pep Guardiola to find another club after slipping down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium and spending last season at Serie A side Torino.

“It’s important for me to play football and to get the opportunity to come here and play is absolutely awesome,” said Hart. “I’m ready to come back and I’m looking forward to being part of this fantastic league again.

“I’ve always loved the club. I think you’ll struggle to find anyone, apart from the direct opposing fans around London, who doesn’t love the club. It’s got something about it, it’s got a lot of history and I’ve always loved playing against West Ham.

“We’ve moved into the London Stadium and we’ve got Slaven [Bilic] in charge who I’ve spoken to and I’ve always enjoyed as a manager. He did a good job with Croatia and he’s doing a good job here. It wasn’t really a hard decision to come here.”

City have agreed to part-fund Hart’s wages, although West Ham have had to pay a loan fee, believed to be £4.5m. There is no option to buy in the deal, so should West Ham wish to purchase Hart next summer they will have to bid on the open market.

One of his maiden duties in a West Ham shirt may be to face his parent club as the Hammers are due to play City in a pre-season showdown in Iceland on 4 August.

Hart added: “It’ll be fun to play against them because I’ll be banned when it comes to the actual season, while I’m sure Manchester United will welcome me with open arms if I get the nod and start the season away at Old Trafford.”

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