Forget Iheanacho – Why Marko Arnautovic Will Be An Amazing Signing For West Ham
West Ham United had a thwarting 2016-17 Premier League campaign under Slaven Bilic despite performing exceptionally well the season before, that earned them a place in Europa League qualifying rounds. The Hammers, however, had a dismal debut season in Olympic Stadium and were knocked out by Romanian outfit Astra Giurgiu in play-off rounds of Europa League. They only managed a 11th placed finish and Bilic, the Croatian boss, failed miserably in the transfer market.
Bilic, who previously had a spell with the London outfit during his playing days, has been retained as West Ham’s head coach after much discussions and has been handed another opportunity to turn their season around like he did a couple of years back in his debut managerial campaign in English football. He, however, has been eyeing an attacker to bring to the ranks. But the latest news regarding Stoke City winger Marko Arnautovic seems to be a close one as the Hammers are showing serious intent to acquire his services.
The 28-year old Austrian international has handed in a transfer request as he seeks a move following four years of attachment with the Potters. The likes of Sofiane Feghouli, Andre Ayew, Ashley Fletcher and Robert Snodgrass were brought in last term by Bilic to add more firepower upfront. But none of them managed to leave an impact or replicate a similar outcome that Dimitri Payet did in his one and a half year spell. The gaffer was forced to play Michail Antonio in a makeshift forward role and the Englishman proved to be their highest scorer (8 goals) despite missing out on months of football due to a significant hamstring injury.
The Croatian tactician, thus, is determined not to reproduce another futile summer like the previous one and is waiting for proper reinforcements before making a move. Arnautovic is an experienced Premier League star who has consistently contributed up front for Stoke City. He scored 6 and assisted 5 times in 32 league appearances last term and kept on impressing with his pace, physicality, dribbling and crossing traits mostly from the left flank.
West Ham have had two subsequent bids of respective £15m and £20m rejected by the Potters who are playing hard ball to grab a hefty fee for their prized asset. But the Hammers are not at all perplexed by Stoke’s rigidity and are preparing a tempting third bid to test their resolve. Arnautovic is a risk worth taking, for his quality, reputation, as well as experience in top-flight English football.
He will form a lethal combination up front alongside Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio and hitman Andy Carroll, provided he manages to shrug off his injuries and make himself available for the forthcoming season. Although the player signed a new four-year deal last summer and has travelled with the squad for Stoke’s preseason campaign, he has made his intentions clear and has set up his mind to experience new Premier League venture.