Fans' Opinion

More to Arnautovic than Meets the Eye?

Author: . Published: at 3:30am

Written by : @Farehamhammer

Yes, he pumped his chest out, kissed the badge and did the crossed Irons salute! “Loves the Club and fans,” we cooed – but guess what?

He does not – and he is far from being an isolated case. When the player involved in drama is our favourite player, it is difficult to accept, and we tend to make excuses for them.

As big Yossi Benayoun fan, it was pleasing when he ‘agreed’ a new contract. But when Liverpool came in, two weeks later he was off in a flash – and it’s still painful today! Another favourite, Scott Parker, was the same in forcing a move to Spurs and insisting that he only got transferred to Spurs. Despite the Club getting better offers for him, Parker pouted till he got his move, disgracefully pulling out of tackles to make sure he was not injured as he did not want to jeopardise his move to Spurs.

We no doubt will face the same scenario at some point with our current players. This is not just a West Ham problem, all Clubs are in the same boat. That is what happens when you prostitute your soul for money, as the beautiful game has done for TV money. It makes it very difficult for Clubs to plan long term.

Money, it seems, is the root of Marko Arnautovic’s problems. The whole Arnie transfer to China has seemed strange from the off. There is more to this saga than meets the eye. Initially, it was thought that Gold and Sullivan were trying to recoup some of the money that they shelled out in the summer. However, Pellegrini may be a Charming man, but he is more than capable of standing up to Gold and Sullivan, as he showed in the summer transfer window.

He got them to shell out £42million for Anderson! Sure, they most probably had to be put on life support afterwards, but they still did it! It’s possible that Arnie kicked off about an increase in wages in the summer already; no doubt he was sent packing by The Club and rightly so. There was, of course, his brother/agent’s very public courting of Inter Milan in the summer, designed to put pressure on the club. Some have tried to blame his brother for the shenanigans, which has gone on around Arnie – but blood is thicker than water and Arnie has always been master of his own destiny. He has behaved exactly the same way at Stoke.

“I fought Stoke for a transfer” were his words to a fan, not his brother’s .

At some point, Pellegrini probably decided that he had enough of Arnie and wanted to replace him. Right through the January transfer window, when asked by the media if Arnautovic would still be at the Club when the window closed, Pellegrini would reply “I don’t know .”

These are hardly the actions of a man desperate to keep his star striker. I don’t think it was just down to Arnie and money; the footballing side of it also came into it. Marko Arnautovic, had a good run six months after David Moyes converted him to striker and did well. But Arnautovic is not a natural striker, and at times slows the game down. At thirty years of age his best years are not in front of him. Pellegrini prefers a more intricate type of striker. He would like a greater fluency running through the team.

It was common knowledge, that after the summer transfer spree, the transfer kitty was bare. Gold and Sullivan would of made that clear to Pellegrini, and most of us fans gathered that as well. The only way new  signings were going to be funded was through player sales.

‘Always a selling club’, ‘You will never reach the next level when you sell your best players’ – all phrases we heard thrown towards West Ham, but let’s face facts here: every single club is a selling club! Even the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Juventus – footballing giants – are selling clubs. Players are like houses; always on the market. Clubs  want value for money; they come in for your star players and try to drive the price down of a player. The key thing is setting the price of a player and sticking to it, at the same time be ready to move on a list of two or three adequate replacements.

The name bandied about at West Ham to replace Arnautovic was the 22-year-old Maxi Lopez of Celta Vigo; with his release clause being a massive 43 million Euro’s. When it first became public knowledge I laughed and thought ‘this is just another William Carvalho, Carlos Bacca and the rest show!’

However one has to be fair and say that Gold and Sullivan have backed ‘The Charming Man’ –  more than any other manager has been backed in their history at West Ham.

If Arnie had been sold, I have no doubt that Max Gomez would have been a West Ham player by now. He most certainly would not have been loaned back to Celta Vigo either.

So what went wrong with the Arnautovic deal; or even was there a deal? At some point an offer obviously came in for the player from a Chinese Club, we even had the goodbye wave, the ‘see ya later’ when Arnie waved while coming off during the Arsenal game. The board and Arnie were convinced that a follow up offer was coming. The Chinese took their time, but eventually one did come. It was not exactly what West Ham had hoped for, and we looked to Maxi Gomez as a potential replacement. Every news outlet had us ‘closing in’ on Gomez on the Wednesday and Thursday. They were probably right at that stage .

Then all of a sudden, we had the statement on Instagram from Arnie stating he had had a offer from another club, but he was staying; basically PR to get the fans on side. What happened for Arnautovic to suddenly have a change of heart?

Love for West Ham? Not a chance! The most likely explanation was that the other offer was not as good as he first thought. Knowing the club’s plans to bring in Gomez, he most probably thought he could hold West Ham to ransom, and demanded a massive loyalty bonus – and there was no way the club could give into that. If they did that, every player could attempt to hold  West Ham to ransom.

The club had to box smart with this, and they did just that. If they just told Arnie that he had to stay, he would of stank the dressing room out – and we would have suffered badly on the pitch. Giving him a  bonus incentive contract with a £45million buyout clause keeps him fully focused and determined to score goals.

Come the summer, if Arnautovic wants a move, he gets it and West Ham get their 45million. Pellegrini will know exactly how to reintegrate Arnautovic into the squad. A few decent performances, and Arnie scoring a few goals and all will be forgotten. And the fans? Pretty much the same. Many will hold our FA Cup exit in particular against him, and rightly so. But score a few goals, and most will have forgiven Arnautovic. That’s human nature; we all sing when we are winning.

As for our season being derailed and nothing to play for – this isn’t the case! It’s time for us to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and finish strongly! There is much to be admired about West Ham this season. At times we have played some really beautiful football; flowing inventive football on the deck. The inventive free kick against Liverpool which led to Antonio scoring would have brought smiles to the faces of Ron Greenwood and John Lyall.

Yes ,we have also been shocking at times. That is to be expected, as we are a work in progress and this happens to all teams in transition. We are building something special – make no error about that. I personally cannot wait to see Anderson, Lanzini and Nasri fully fit, and working in tandem on the pitch! How many teams can counter that? Precious few!

In the summer, it’s a case of building on what we have with a few quality additions. It’s not a case of just throwing huge sums of money to get top players – it’s a case of being shrewd in the market. The signings of Fabianski and Balbuena are proof of that, compared to the likes of Everton and Fulham who have just thrown money around willy nilly. All you achieve by that is a huge wage bill and the end result being financial armageddon. Off the pitch, we are also getting it right. Opinions about the Davids may differ, but bringing the great Billy Bonds back into the fold was a huge plus in anyone’s language. Honouring the great man by naming the East Stand after him is no more than this great club servant deserves.

We’ve got so much to look forward to in the forthcoming seasons, Arnautovic or no Arnautovic. Time to be West Ham UNITED; Saints and Sinners, winners and losers, we are all West Ham. Our great days are before us, not behind us. Time to live in the land of hope and dreams!

We are more than a football Club, we’re a way of life! COYI!