Written by : Corey Kemp

An innocuous Instagram message has stirred the West Ham fan base into thinking that the Austrian maverick may don the Claret and Blue once again.

Marko Arnautovic put out a greatly timed message to the fans last season, in which he then stated that he wanted to play for the Club again. That was after he derailed Manuel Pellegrini side’s momentum. He sulked for the reminder of that season and never recaptured the form that had endeared him to the West Ham faithful.

A prime and committed Marko Arnautovic was a handful. He put relentlessly pressure on the opposition defences, often held the ball up to bring others into play and, when called upon, took his chance in front of goal. But as the Stoke City fans once warned, he will break hearts and that he did.

If you can suspend your disdain, you’ll remember all of these attributes and more. Under David Moyes, he was transformed into a twenty goal a season striker, something that West Ham fans had longed for.

He began to impress in the second half of the 17/18 season. Moyes’ decision to make him a centre-forward saw him score eleven goals in West Ham’s relegation battle. This included a memorable performance away at former club Stoke City, where he tormented his former side and infamously threw the Hammers sign to the opposition fans.

Marko’s influence only became stronger in his second season at the Club. With the addition of Felipe Anderson and others, he initially flourished under Manuel Pellegrini. With a licence to remain at the focal point of the team’s attack, he managed to notch twenty goals in fifty-four games.

And it wasn’t just his clinical nature that saw him adored by the West Ham faithful. His work rate during the 17/18 season helped out his teammates immensely. Recording 21 tackles, 32 clearances and 19 headed clearances, Arnautovic was the jewel in David Moyes’ team.

After reminiscing, you’d think a move for Marko Arnautovic is a no-brainer. There is an even better argument in that the addition of Pablo Fornals and Sebastian Haller would provide the creativity and support upfront that Arnautovic previously lacked.

I would question, however, is it time for West Ham to stop romanticising about past heroes and start recruiting players who want to play for the badge.

It was Marko’s decision to leave after the Arsenal game marred Manuel Pellegrini’s first season in charge. West Ham had been on a winning run leading up to Christmas and looked set to compete for a place in the Europa League when he decided he wanted to join boyhood club Shanghai SIPD. West Ham never recovered from this disruption and finished the season in 10th.

Cast your memory back further, you’ll remember another maverick. Dimitri Payet’s decision to leave had a similar impact. His creativity and goals had kept the Club hopeful of staying in the league prior to the January transfer window and, whilst Slaven Bilic helped West Ham survive the drop, there’s no doubt the Frenchman’s antics made this task all the more difficult.

Fast forward to prior COVID-19, David Moyes had assembled a strong team in his victory over Southampton. The addition of Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen, and the emergence of youth product Jeremy Ngakia, had breathed life into a side that had lack pace, industry and commitment. Alongside the likes of Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice and Mark Noble, West Ham are best placed to beat the drop once again and stay in the division.

It is therefore time to say goodbye to the likes of Marko Arnautovic. He was a fantastically arrogant player, who’s talent gave the Hammers fans many wonderful memories over a two-year period. In the end, it was inevitable that the character that the fans loved would also be the same thing that prevented the Club from progressing as a whole.

So whilst it’s thank you for the memories Marko, it is in the same breath you would have to say, no thanks.