I have to say that I was not sure what to make of West Ham signing Austrian winger Marko Arnautovic from Stoke City for £25 million. The former Werder Bremen star has it in his locker to be a major attacking threat.
However, too often for Stoke, he underperformed and that was my major concern about him at West Ham too. Unfortunately, my concerns were not unfounded, as he has struggled to have an impact in a struggling Irons team since his summer move.
On Friday night though, there were signs of life, as the winger looked a threat in the Hammers 1-1 draw with Leicester at the London Stadium.
Has not contributed to a goal at West Ham
Let us get his underperformance at West Ham out of the way first. Arnautovic on his day is a match-winner. However, he has not had any of those days this season for the Hammers.
The winger has made nine Premier League appearances for the east London club and has not produced a goal or an assist. For an attacking player that cost a relatively big fee that is a poor return.
Some will say that not many West Ham players have performed this season. However, for me, Arnautovic arguably has the most natural talent.
Arnautovic has undoubted talent. In his last two seasons at Stoke, he produced 17 goals and 13 assists, which is a decent tally for any player in a rather mediocre Stoke team.
Looked dangerous against Leicester
For the 68 minutes the winger played against Leicester, he looked a threat. A change of flanks seemed to benefit his game and he produced some very dangerous balls into the box.
Arnautovic also showed good work rate to get back and help his defense. This is a part of the Austrian’s game that has often been criticised in the past. When things do not go his way, he has a tendency to hide and not track back.
I cannot say I have seen every minute of Arnautovic’s career at West Ham. However, I would hazard a guess that his 68 minutes against Leicester may well have been the best of his Hammers career so far.
However, he still has not produced anything tangible in a West Ham shirt. A slight knee injury picked up in the Leicester game could prove a problem with the Hammers facing a trip to fellow strugglers Everton on Wednesday night.
Following his encouraging display against the Foxes, the Irons will want him on the pitch at Goodison Park.
West Ham needs Arnautovic to up his game
When Arnautovic joined West Ham in the summer, I wrote an article about how the move could go either way, mainly due to his lack of consistency. Arnautovic’s Irons career could still go either way. It is early days in his West Ham career.
However, West Ham is struggling for results. They need the Austrian international to step up his game in the next few months.
The Hammers are currently 7/4 to suffer relegation this season. The situation is not a great one for the club, who looked to have invested well in the summer.
Arnautovic is not the only one who needs to up their game in the West Ham squad. However, he is a player that can have a massive influence on games and win the Irons the points. Those sorts of players can be the difference between staying up and relegation to a team.
The quicker the talented Arnautovic turns up at West Ham the better, as the sulky underperforming Arnautovic is no good to the Hammers or boss David Moyes.