The Marko Arnautovic saga has been a long and arduous one, but it must finally come to an end this summer with the player’s departure from West Ham United.
Sky Sports reported on Thursday night that the Hammers are prepared to sell the 30-year-old, even if it comes in a ‘terrible deal’ worth £22.5million, having already rejected a £19.7million offer from Shanghai SIPG.
While that’s not much money for a player of Arnautovic’s ability who signed a contract extension this past January, the current situation with the Austrian international means it’s time to move him on.
He has simply become a nuisance and is no longer someone who is worth the time and energy it takes to keep him happy. Clearly he is never going to be satisfied in east London and has had his head turned by the riches on offer in the Far East.
This is all a bit of a shame, because there’s no doubt that Arnautovic has phenomenal talent. As per WhoScored, he led Javier Hernandez and Xande Silva, his fellow Hammers frontmen, in a host of significant offensive statistical categories last season.
He played the most minutes of the trio, scored the most goals, grabbed the most assists, had the most shots per game and garnered the most Man of the Match awards.
Clearly he is the premier attacker at the London Stadium, but ultimately if he doesn’t want to be there then the club have to sell him as soon as possible.
He has sowed massive discord with the supporters and will soon begin to create a fracture in the dressing room. So even while £22.5million is a ‘terrible deal’ on the face of it, the way Arnautovic has behaved makes it something the Hammers have to do.
At the end of the day, while ‘Arnie’ was the star of the first half of the 2018/19 campaign for West Ham, the club have to burn their bridges with him after his latest tantrum. An immediate exit, even at a loss, is definitely for the best.