Why West Ham Should Avoid Mercurial Marko’s Return

Marko Arnautovic, Ex West Ham. (Photo by JURE MAKOVEC/AFP via Getty Images)
Marko Arnautovic, Ex West Ham. (Photo by JURE MAKOVEC/AFP via Getty Images) /

West Ham fans have been debating on whether or not bringing Marko Arnautovic back to the club is a good idea of not, here’s why it isnt.

Reports from China outline how COVID-19 induced cutbacks will make the middle kingdom no longer a destination for footballers to find one final payday. While the new rules will only apply to new signings, any reference to a shifting Chinese landscape was sure to ignite speculation about a potential relapse with West Ham’s former flame.

There are three ways to analyze how a Marko Arnautovic return could impact West Ham: on the pitch, in the pocketbook, and off the pitch.

On the pitch

From 2017 to 2019, Arnautovic scored 22 goals and provided 12 assists in 65 games for West Ham. Strength, speed, skill were his weapons, and a permanent grimace was his kit (that Arnie and the Scotsman shared a mean grimace probably helped their relationship.)

Under Moyes’ tutelage, Arnie looked like what Moyes has gotten out of Michail Antonio – a bulldog willing to sniff out a loose ball and chase down speculative opportunities.

However, following Moyes’ departure and Pellegrini’s arrival, the Austrian lost a bit of that pep in his step. He still scored goals, but that extra steel in is an approach to the game was lacking.

If it Ain’t About the Money

Marko Arnautovic, Ex-West Ham.
Marko Arnautovic, Ex-West Ham. (Photo credit should read STR/AFP via Getty Images) /

With funds being tight in a post-pandemic sporting world devoid of ticket revenue, West Ham must make every addition predicated on value. While there is no argument that Marko would improve the side’s on the pitch product today, it is always a question of tomorrow with Arnautovic.

West Ham was not the first club where Marko forced his way out. The script he used for West Ham may as well have been copy and pasted out of his brother and agent Danijel Arnautovic’s Google Document titled “Goodbye Stoke City, Hello Cashola.”

(I’d like to state on the record that Cashola isn’t a word I’d use, and while I have no proof, I imagine it is part of Danijel’s regular rhetorical repertoire.)

Unlike T.I. and Young Thug, West Ham’s pockets are not stuffed with lettuce and cheese (let me save our older readers a Google. Lettuce and cheese are slang for cashola).

Marko was making around £280,000 per week in wages at Shanghai SIPG. How do you think he’d react to a pay cut?

The fact of the matter is that Arnie is a bad investment. He will be 32 years old in April 2021. And one must question his fitness after he admitted to “underestimating the Chinese league (currently ranked the 19th most competitive league in the world, after the Danish Superligaen).

Off the pitch

West Ham fans have a lot in common with Taylor Swift. I’m not saying that those true to the Claret and Blue are all tastemakers and pop icons. But we have had our cumulative hearts broken. Publicly. Repeatedly.

The wantaway West Ham star is familiar folklore for Hammers fans. Dimitri Payet was the first boy to break my heart. But Marko Arnautovic taught me how to love again.

The fearless striker’s reputation preceded him. He had a tendency to run red hot one game and ice cold the next. Following a transfer demand that was ignored during the 2019 midseason transfer window, Marko even tried to recommit by swearing his loyalty evermore.

Alas, it was not meant to be. I have moved on, so I don’t want to tear open old wounds. But Toby Cudworth’s piece in 90min.com does a great job capturing my opinion at the time; “Marko Arnautovic: A Toxic Talent Who Deserves the Footballing Oblivion Awaiting Him in China.” Hell hath no fury like a West Ham fan scored.

When Project Restart was announced, I wrote down why it is that I personally, and we as a society watch sports. I reminisced about all of the magical moments of sports fandom over the years. One constant was that throughout all the highs and lows, we watch, follow, and talk about sports for a sense of community.

And because of this answer, I am dismayed by any inkling of linking Marko Arnautovic with a return to London, as is the West Ham fan community.

When reading my colleague Henry Tomlinson’s companion piece on the Arnautovic question, commenters cited his “awful brother.” Noted that he came with “baggage,” that he’s a clubhouse cancer, and that West Ham “are like that clingy ex that can’t move on.”

Other negative idioms were that he’s a “bad apple” and that “a leopard never changes his spots.”

Marko Arnautovic Ex West Ham.
Marko Arnautovic Ex-West Ham. (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images) /

They are, of course, all warranted. Arnie is that quintessential “bad boy” you don’t want your daughter to bring home. He has the tats, the bleached hair, and the attitude. He may as well be leaning against a wall smoking a cigarette and blowing clouds of smoke into the face of any authority figure’s inquiry as to the status of his hall pass.

But nevertheless, the appeal is there. That venom is poisonous for opponents, but also for a clubhouse. And while you may put up with that boy since he makes your daughter happy, rest assured, that it will be a temporary happiness.

Next. Why West Ham Should Take Chance On A Villainous Return. dark

The important takeaway from this is that you learn your lesson, and avoid these types of guys in the future.