Mark Hughes says Marko Arnautovic always wanted to stay at Stoke despite exploring his options

Marko Arnautovic scores the first goal for Stoke

The Austrian international has committed his future to the Potters despite high-profile interest from Everton.

Marko Arnautovic scores the first goal for Stoke

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has expressed his delight after in-demand attacker Marko Arnautovic committed his future to the club by signing a new contract, telling the club's website that he believes the Austrian always wanted to stay at the Britannia Stadium.

Arnautovic was one of the stand-out stars for the Potters last season, scoring 12 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions as the Hughes' side finished in ninth place for the third season in a row.

The 27-year-old's form had seen him linked with a move away this summer, and it had been speculated that he could make a £12.5 million move to Everton after playing in all three of his country's matches at Euro 2016.

Marko Arnautovic celebrates after scoring the first goal for Stoke

However, he has decided to instead commit his future to Stoke and on Wednesday signed a new four-year contract at the club.

Hughes admitted that he is delighted to see his star man sign extended terms at the club and insisted that although Arnautovic's head had been turned by the possibility of other options, he was always confident that the player would decided that his future lay at Stoke.

The Welsh boss told stokecityfc.com: "I, like everyone connected to Stoke City, am delighted at the news that Marko has signed a new contract. I think Marko understood that he has something really good here. He’s always been very appreciative of what we’ve been able to do for him and obviously vice versa what he has done for the team and group.

Austria's Marko Arnautovic looks dejected at the end of the match

"He’s a very valued member of the squad. He’s well liked and I just felt it was important that we got him to recommit. I think he realised that if he was to leave it would be a big wrench for him and in the end we got to the point where it made sense, everyone was happy and we got it done.

"It dragged on for a long time and he was well within his rights to explore his options with his family and advisors but deep down I think Marko always wanted to stay here and progress his career."

Arnautovic is likely to be a leading man for Stoke again this season as Hughes looks to lead the club to kick on from their consistent mid-table position and become genuine European challengers this term.

Stoke City's Marko Arnautovic in action with Manchester City's Martin Demichelis

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