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Retaining £16.2m-rated ace would be bigger than any signing West Ham make this summer

West Ham supporters in the Transfer Tavern have been reacting to the news that Manuel Pellegrini has replaced David Moyes as the club’s new manager ahead of the 2018/19 Premier League season.

Former Everton and Manchester United boss Moyes was drafted in by the club’s hierarchy back in November with the Hammers languishing in the bottom three, yet he fulfilled the brief in steadying the ship and ultimately leading the club to safety, eventually finishing in 13th place in the table. However, his short-term deal was not extended at the end of the season, and now it’ll be ex-Manchester City boss Pellegrini who leads the club into the new campaign amid much excitement from our resident Hammers supporters.

And while much of the focus since the Chilean took over has been on the players they may look to sign this summer, one man who could be on his way out of the club is Marko Arnautovic, who has recently been linked with a move to Manchester United.

And while there is no doubt that the Hammers need reinforcements this summer, retaining the £16.2 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) would be bigger than any signing West Ham make this summer.

Ultimately, while it took a bit of time for the 29-year-old to get going at the London Stadium, the forward eventually became one of the club’s most influential players in netting 11 goals and laying on six assists in 31 Premier League appearances for the club.

Remarkably, there were calls from some Hammers fans in the Tavern back in August, not long after his arrival, for Arnautovic to never play for the club again after his early red card at Southampton, but he has since knuckled down and gone on to be as crucial as anybody in their battle against relegation.

Key goals in victories over Chelsea, Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, Watford, and Southampton helped pave the way for the Hammers to move up the Premier League table, with former boss Moyes in particular deserving great credit for getting the best out of the Austria international following his arrival.

And if West Ham are serious about moving to the next level under Pellegrini next season, they simply must keep hold of Arnautovic, who possesses the match-winning quality that helped set the Hammers apart from the three teams that eventually got relegated to the Championship.

He brilliantly took on the role of centre forward in a side desperately lacking in that area of the pitch as the season wore on, with his pace, strength, and technical quality in the final third underlining what a special player the East London club have at their disposal.

Yes, signings are needed this summer at the London Stadium, but it’s just as important that they retain the services of the key players already at the club – Arnautovic is without doubt in that bracket.

As such, keeping hold of the 29-year-old during the close season would be bigger than any signing they make.

West Ham fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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Article title: Retaining £16.2m-rated ace would be bigger than any signing West Ham make this summer

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