Everyone knows that the Austrian international wanted to leave the club to go on a money-spinning adventure in China, yet the Hammers held firm and kept him where he was, with the player signing a contract extension in east London in the process.
The club confirmed his departure to Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG on their official website on Monday, and former England international Danny Murphy hit the nail on the head when reacting to the news.
“When they first come in [Chinese interest] and he wanted to go the first time, in January, they should have got it done,” he told talkSPORT. “They made a bad decision then.”
It’s extremely difficult to argue with Murphy, here. Once a player is unhappy and his head’s been turned, it’s time to get rid. That is one of the most fundamental tenets of running a successful football club. It’s why Sir Alex Ferguson got rid of world class players like Jaap Stan and Ruud van Nistelrooy at Manchester United back in the day.
It’s just pointless to keep a player who wants to be elsewhere, which we saw at West Ham with Arnautovic’s severe downslide in form post-January. Plus, as reported by Sky Sports, the Irons could have got much more money for the 30-year-old in January than they eventually received this summer.
As Murphy says, that was a bad decision, and it doesn’t take a genius to see it. You can’t keep unhappy players, because it’s simply never going to end well.
Hopefully West Ham will be able to sign a top quality replacement and put this whole unhappy saga behind them, but it’s impossible to say Murphy doesn’t have a point here.