West Ham manager David Moyes has revealed that he threatened star attacker Marko Arnautovic with the axe from the first team in order to get the best out the Austrian after a poor run of form.

The 28-year-old was a record breaking signing from Premier League rivals Stoke City over the summer, eclipsing the £20.5million spent on Andre Ayew a year earlier, but failed to hit the ground running at the London Stadium.

He was sent off in just his second appearance for the club, and although he impressed with two assists in the League Cup victory over Bolton Wanderers, he failed to contribute to a goal in the league, either scoring or setting one up, until netting the winner in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea earlier in December.

Since then he has been on a fine run of form, netting four goals in his last three outings, including a brace in the dramatic 3-3 draw with Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

When asked about the Austrian’s improved performances, manager Moyes, who joined the club in November, revealed he had threatened the forward with being axed from the first team if he failed to put in more effort, and insisted that he must keep up the work ethic if he wants to continue performing as well as he has.

He told Sky Sports: “He was always a good player Marko Arnautovic, but maybe he’s also going better through the middle rather than out wide.”

“Nobody doubts his ability and quality as a footballer. He’s got to make sure his mentality side – he keeps doing it.

“It was just about telling him if he wasn’t going to run he wasn’t going to play.”

The versatile attacker, who can play out wide or as a centre forward, has 27 goals and 27 assists under his belt in 141 Premier League appearances, and will be hoping to add to his tally when West Ham take on West Brom in the new year.

In other West Ham news, the club are readying a transfer swoop for a £27million-rated international enforcer.

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