It’s ironic that, as England revisit the old pitch and enter 2021 with a brand new lockdown, I find myself sitting in the same place as ten months ago, ready to write about Marko Arnautovic.
It was in March of last year when my keyboard was last dusted to cover the Austrian’s adventures in China, as it became apparent that there wouldn’t be much else to write as the world football calendar came to a halt due to the coronavirus.
Fortunately, elite sport will continue in this new and shining time of nothingness, but this is the way of the world, Arnautovic has always found a way back into my life, despite being thousands of miles away, outside from view and from the outside. of spirit.
How he managed to do it I’m not entirely sure.
But what I do know is that, extraordinarily, there are suggestions that West Ham manager David Moyes, who does a great job by the way, might be looking to regain his old charge and bring the 31-year-old back. years of his Asian Adventures during the January transfer window.
Sky Sports suggests that Shanghai SIPG, the Chinese Super League behemoths who pushed the silver carrot past Arnautovic in 2019, in fact offered West Ham the chance to re-sign him, although a deal is not not likely at this point due to the Shockingly high wages Shanghai has decided to find its way.
Certainly, the Hammers need another striker. Michail Antonio is brilliant, wonderful and ticks all the boxes of a Moyes striker but has been troubled by various hamstring issues, while his £ 45million understudy Sebastien Haller is really struggling to do his mark in English football – so much so that after barely 18 months he is fighting for his career in East London.
Other than those two, Moyes’ choices are slim. There’s a much-loved teenage prodigy Miko Odupeko waiting backstage, but he’s hard to see in the limelight, especially since he hasn’t played a lot of reserve and youth football. because of an injury. Jarrod Bowen can play there too, if the pressure is on, but he’s much better suited to charge up and down the right wing.
All of this would suggest that the idea of signing Arnautovic again isn’t that crazy, after all. But the reality is, for all the good he’s done to the club, it’s such a disappointing prospect that the Tory government’s re-election calls for a lot more (it doesn’t, but you get the gist of it).
Arnautovic is a man, after all, who raised my blood pressure – and many other West Ham supporters – exponentially because he could be bloody shiny or shocking, directly causing my hair to fall out at an even rate. higher than genetics had originally predicted.
He’s also a man who played well for a little while, got a bit fat for his boots, wanted to move somewhere else, allowed his brother to do some press gossip, changed his song to be able to sign a new and improved contract at West Ham, before making another U-turn to force himself out of the club for even greater pay and an “adventure” in China.
Is this really a character that we want to return to the club? I’m not speaking for everyone of a West Ham persuasion, but I’m speaking for myself; absolute 100% no way, no luck.
The culture at West Ham has improved tenfold since Moyes was reappointed as manager, bringing unity and community among the players. The 11 players on the pitch are now playing for each other and not just for themselves, and players like Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal have brought humility and dynamism to the dressing room. Selfish selfishness is no longer a thing, instead, coming together for the good of the team is in the foreground.
Bringing Arnautovic back would not only undermine all the hard work that has gone into getting West Ham to where it is, it would likely tear everything apart. Having another squeeze with Antonio’s ability would be nice, but it’s not the way to go.
Arnautovic was fantastic once upon a time, but he’s the past of West Ham and Moyes – let’s hope wages aren’t the only stumbling block in preventing a return to London Stadium.
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