Former West Ham star, Marko Arnautovic has been been long linked with a return to the London Stadium, and it could be a risk worth taking.
Marko Arnautovic did not make many friends when he left West Ham in controversial circumstances. Take your mind back to 2019; the Austrian had refused to play for the club before signing a new bumper deal only to up sticks again and leave in the summer window for the treasures of China.
The Chinese Super-league is known for signing stars of Europe and paying mind-boggling wages, even in the world of football. A new rule is set to scupper some of the existing player contracts as they attempt to cut costs across the league. This new rule could see some players return to Europe to play their football.
This, of course, has started a whole new transfer rumour mill, will West Ham resign Arnautovic? Before fans turn their backs on the former Hammer because of the aforementioned reasons, there could definitely be an argument made for bringing Arnautovic back to the London Stadium.
SUITING THE SYSTEM
After David Moyes hired for the first time and moved Arnautovic into the striker position, he came to life at West Ham. The 31-year-old played in the same role as Michail Antonio currently plays when fit. Arnautovic played this role superbly due to his pressing and high intensity. Arguably the Austrian was the inspiration for the switch of Antonio to a striker.
Due to Haller’s inability to fit the club’s current system, Arnautovic could be a perfect short-term answer to fill the void. Antonio will suffer more injuries throughout the season as his hamstrings are not what they used to be. Arnautovic could help preserve Antonio’s career if rotated effectively.
IMPRESSIVE GOAL RECORD
Arnautovic had a slow start to life after he joined West Ham from Stoke, but once he hit top form, he quickly became the club’s talisman. The Austrian scored twenty-one goals in fifty-nine Premier League games for the Hammers. What makes his record more impressive is some of those games were spent on the wing.
Since Arnautovic left the club, there has been a drop output from the current strikers at the club. Sebastien Haller, who was the replacement, has failed to fulfil the void left by Arnautovic as he cannot play in the same system to the same effect.
Antonio has also struggled for goals at times. The Englishman has, of course, found his shooting boots in recent times, but injuries are hampering his effectiveness.
Despite moving to China, Arnautovic seems to have kept a high level of performance. The 31-year-old has scored seventeen goals and provided four assists in only thirty-five appearances. So there is a potential that he has kept up his fitness and won’t fall flat in the Premier League.
MOYES’ MAIN MAN
It was clear that when David Moyes became West Ham manager that he was the reason he got Arnautovic playing the best football of his career. It was Moyes’ moving of Arnautovic from a winger to the central striker position that revitalised the Austrian and West Ham’s season. The Austrian praised Moyes’ management of him during this period and gave massive credit to the Scot.
The move was so successful that when the Premier League-winning manager Manuel Pellegrini was appointed he kept Arnautovic in the position and built his team around him, leading to the of the best seasons since moving to the London Stadium.
Once Arnie had decided to leave, that’s when the wheel started to fall off the Pellegrini era at West Ham. So with Moyes back at the helm, it could entice Arnautovic back to the club to see if he can become the top striker that he was before.
Of course, fans will either have to forgive or forget the crimes that Arnautovic committed towards the end of his time at the club. If that is possible and the maverick striker returns it could help the Hammers stay in their current European position.