It wasn’t hard to see Marko Arnautovic’s frustrations when he left the field of play to a chorus of boos versus Everton on Saturday. Boos from those same fans who idolised him just three months earlier.
WHERE HAS IT ALL GONE WRONG?
Simple! Marko decided to hold the club to ransom. He thought he could hoodwink the West Ham support.
The thing is West Ham fans aren’t stupid. Most will have seen the shenanigans of January for exactly what they were – him either wanting to go to Man United / Chelsea or to get a pay rise.
His brother/agent issued a come and get me plea by fabricating a £35m bid from an ‘unnamed club’ in China. But with Man United sacking his pursuer Jose Mourinho and Chelsea signing Gonzalo Higuain, poor Marko had no other option. He had to stay at West Ham (Well, I suppose he could also have went to a fictional team in China).
Then just as the transfer window was about to come to a close, and no more bids were materialising, Arnautovic put pen to paper on a contract extension. He was staying! Weren’t we lucky! Whoo Hoo!
A tad embarrassing for the player, considering he had waved goodbye to us fans when substituted in his last appearance (v Arsenal) prior to signing his new contract extension.
Then to top it off, within minutes of us being knocked out of the FA Cup an awful self-promoting video was released saying he was back! Back from where exactly?
If Marko can’t see how all this has affected his relationship with the fans then he’s a fool.
CAN IT BE FIXED?
Its hard to know. Marko has a hell of a lot of making up to do. The best way for him to do that is to rediscover his form that made him our Hammer of the Year.
There is no doubting he has ability. He is exactly the type of player West Ham fans love. But there is an awful lot of work to be done to get that love back.
It’s entirely in Arnautovic’s hands. He can sulk, huff and throw bottles all he wants but that’s not going to win the fans back. If he wants us cheering his name again he needs to get on with playing the football we know he can.
However, he might need to win Pellegrini over first. Its quite clear the manager and player relationship is fractious. No doubt due to the effect the whole saga has had on the changing room. The Chilean has only started him 3 times since and he has yet to complete a full 90 minutes. And for Marko to be playing that football, he needs to be on the pitch.
My concern is that Marko is the type of player who only performs when he has the backing of the fans which could mean it might be a long time before we see him perform again. And if that is the case, he should go in the summer.