Football is a game of very small margins, so things that do or don’t happen can have a wide impact for clubs, in the latest installment of our Potential Consequences feature, we will look at what could have happened if Marko Arnautovic hadn’t gone rogue last season.
The Austrian was frustrated that West Ham weren’t allowing him to move to Shanghai SIPG in January, as reported by The Telegraph and missed the club’s FA Cup loss against AFC Wimbledon, before putting out a video that he was back.
He eventually left this summer, as reported by The Evening Standard, but things could have played out very differently if he had kept his mind in East London rather than allowing it to stray.
West Ham only finished five points behind Wolverhampton Wanderers last season and there is perhaps the feeling that had Arnautovic not gone off the rails, they could have at least got closer.
Up until missing the AFC Wimbledon match in January, the Austria international had scored a total of seven Premier League goals, assisting twice, as per Transfermarkt, however, he managed just one assist in the nine games following the incident.
There was a hint of what he could have done during that time when the last three games of the season came, as he got three goals and an assist as the Hammers won the trio of matches, which included the first ever away victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
No Sebastien Haller
If Arnautovic had stuck around it is unlikely West Ham would have spent a record-breaking transfer fee on Eintracht Frankfurt striker Sebastien Haller.
The Frenchman has made a brilliant start to life at London Stadium, having scored three times in three games, as per WhoScored.
In addition, he has won 5.7 aerial duels and completed 1 dribble per game, while also working well defensively, averaging 2.7 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game.
The 25-year-old has immediately become an integral player in the team, something that can’t be said for Arnautovic, as he scored his first league goal in his 12th game in claret and blue.
Marko Arnautovic is currently 30-years-old, so there will have likely been a point where Manuel Pellegrini and Mario Husillos would have looked for somebody younger within the next few seasons.
This is especially likely considering their strategy of bringing younger talent, with David Martin and Roberto being the club’s only signings this summer over the age of 25, while the other three aside from Haller were all 23-years-old or under.
While every team needs some older heads, it is perhaps a wonder how many years Arnautovic would have lasted under Pellegrini and it is unlikely the Hammers would have got as much for the Austrian as they did if a transfer was made a couple of years down the line.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!