Marko Arnautovic is the epitome of that age-old cliché about marmite. You know the one.

After his antics in January where he was itching for a big-money move to China, most of the Hammers’ faithful were keen to see the back of him. His bad attitude on and off the pitch began to show, reflected by his out-of-character performances.

Things did finally start to settle down towards the back end of last season though, where the Austrian bagged three goals in his last two games – after going on a stretch of 11 games without a goal – showing the fans what he’s capable of.

So where does this leave West Ham’s number seven heading into the 2019/2020 Premier League season?

Rumours of a move away have fizzled out, and if reports are to be believed, Marko is now happy to stay and prove himself, and is ready to return as the all-action striker that West Ham fans grew to love over his first 18 months at the club.

That, along with his contract extension at the back end of those January transfer rumours, gives West Ham enough basis to assume that he will still be a Hammer next season.

With that in mind, a fully-committed Arnautovic is a deadly weapon to have at the pin-point of your attack, and that is where he will want to continue playing as he looks to hit double digits in goals for the third consecutive season.

But a focused Marko gives the team so much more than just goals. Over the last two seasons, he has registered 12 assists, highlighting his importance to the team’s all-round play.

And when he isn’t directly contributing towards goals, his selfless running off the ball highlights the attitude that West Ham fans know he has in abundance – with that being a key reason as to why he was so quickly warmed to after a rocky start in his debut season at London Stadium.

What West Ham can’t afford to do, though, is head into the season with an over-reliance on the Austrian maverick.

With Andy Carroll and Lucas Perez already gone, and Javier Hernandez’s future at the club in doubt, it potentially leaves only Arnautovic as the club’s senior striker.

Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez is reportedly being lined up as a big-money signing for West Ham this summer, and if that deal were to be concluded, it would provide much-needed competition for Arnautovic, and hopefully get the best out of both.

Expect to see a Marko Arnautovic back to his valiant best next season.

By Louis Pye (@lou_pye)

Gonzo

By Gonzo

West Ham fan for as long as I can remember. I was flukey enough to watch The Irons beat Bury 10-0 in my first ever game . . . True to form, West Ham then went out and signed their central defender 😬

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