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Zabaleta hints that Arnautovic saga has created a ‘bad atmosphere’ at West Ham

Pablo Zabaleta has suggested that the transfer saga that has surrounded Marko Arnautovic this month has created a ‘bad atmosphere’ at West Ham, saying he can’t wait for the transfer window to close.

After a miserable start to the season, things were looking to be on the up at West Ham as the January transfer window approached. However, news of interest from the Chinese Super League in Marko Arnautovic a few weeks ago has seemingly triggered a mini-crisis at the club, with the Hammers having lost their last three games on the spin, including the 4-2 humiliation against League One strugglers, AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup.

While Arnautovic has committed his future to the club, West Ham full-back Pablo Zabaleta has suggested that the saga has had a negative effect on the atmosphere at the club.

“Honestly, I think so many situations off the field have been creating a little bit of a bad atmosphere,” said Zabaleta.

“I’m not just saying that is the only thing – because we lost two (league) games. I remember in December, when we had a good run, you could see West Ham playing as a team.

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“In January, it’s been tough on and off the field and the only good thing was the win against Arsenal.

“But the reality is if you want to be a better team and be in a better position then you can’t go from beating Arsenal to losing three games against two mid-table teams and a smaller team in the FA Cup.

“I can’t wait for February 1 and everyone is back on it again, we need commitment again from everyone.

“I understand January is a difficult month for clubs, because you can have big interest in your best players. But Arnie was out of the squad for two games, he’s been the main player for us.

“When you see so much speculation around the team, players moving on, or some coming in, that can distract a little bit with the atmosphere in the dressing room, it’s hard for the manager as well.

“I’m not saying it’s all about Arnautovic, it’s not only his situation. There have been many players, names around the media. If we want to become the team we were in December, then we need to bring everyone together and stick together.”

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