Marko Arnautovic is expected to stay at West Ham United after it was reported on Sunday that the interested clubs from the Chinese Super League failed to match his asking price for a move away from English football.
According to Sky Sports the striker will remain at the Hammers for time being unless Guangzhou Evergrande or Shanghai SIPG manage to meet the £50m fee for the 29-year-old.
The ‘return’ of Arnautovic to the West Ham starting lineup should, however, be a no brainer for manager Manuel Pellegrini and Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Bournemouth should emphasise the need to get him back into the team as soon as possible.
Although Arnautovic never actually left the East London club, he wasn’t named in the squad that travelled to the Vitality Stadium with the expectation of the manager that a deal to China would be agreed soon.
Now, the former Stoke City player could still be of high value for Pellegrini, at least for next two games.
With only ten days of the transfer window remaining, it does seem unlikely that Arnautovic would leave and this could be a massive boost for West Ham as they face AFC Wimbledon and Wolverhampton Wanderers before the end of the month.
The expected fear of fitting Arnautovic back into the team should only be a temporary issue as he is still a very big part of the team and the club’s best goal-scoring threat.
West Ham lacked direction up-front against the Cherries and never really looked threatening. They failed to apply real pressure on the defenders and with Andy Carroll up-front, Pellegrini didn’t have the ruthlessness of Arnautovic.
The encounter, however, did see the manager opt for a lone striker for the first time this season as he normally plays with two wide centre-forwards.
It is a tactic that has worked brilliantly in the matches before the Bournemouth trip, most notably the 1-0 win over Arsenal last weekend.
Pellegrini should therefore replace his trust and faith in Arnautovic, no matter what formation he uses, and let the striker lead the line of attack again. It is the best chance West Ham have of making a real push for the Europa League.
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