It’s fair to speculate that the majority of the West Ham United fanbase were disheartened when forward Marko Arnautovic reportedly handed in a transfer request in the summer of 2019.
The Austrian ended up switching England for China by joining Shanghai SIPG for a fee believed to be around £23m, having joined the Hammers two summers prior from Stoke City for £20m.
During his stint at the London Stadium, the now 32-year-old was rather prolific, having scored 22 goals and registered 12 assists in 65 appearances, an average of a goal contribution every 1.9 appearances.
However, relations between the forward and the East London club deteriorated, particularly after Arnautovic submitted two transfer requests within the space of six months, with West Ham posting a very brief statement once his move to Shanghai had been confirmed.
The statement read: ‘West Ham United can confirm that Marko Arnautovic has joined Chinese Super League champions Shanghai SIPG for an undisclosed fee.
‘The 30-year-old Austrian departs after two seasons at London Stadium, during which he scored 22 goals in 65 appearances in Claret and Blue.’
Fast forward two-and-a-half years and, despite being paid close to £200k-per-week, the Austrian had mixed fortunes out in China.
In 39 appearances for Shanghai SIPG, the forward netted 20 times as well as contributing four assists, a slightly better average of one goal contribution every 1.6 games than Arnautovic’s rate at West Ham.
However, last summer the 32-year-old and the Chinese Super League outfit came to a mutual agreement regarding the termination of the Austrian’s contract, following events ironically similar to those that occurred in the latter stages of his West Ham tenure.
Arnautovic subsequently joined Serie A side Bologna on a free transfer, for whom the striker has scored eight league goals in 23 appearances in the Italian top-flight.
Moreover, the Austrian was associated with controversy once again after an incident between him and North Macedonia’s Ezgjan Alioski during last summer’s European Championship which subsequently saw a one-match ban handed out, with the forward apologising for “heated words.”
Although the 32-year-old is still scoring goals on a regular basis, West Ham made the right call to part ways with the Austrian when they did, cashing in on a fee very similar to the one they paid Stoke.
When Arnautovic left the Hammers, it seemed as though Manuel Pellegrini’s side drew the short straw, with Transfermarkt valuing the striker at £31.5m at the time after scoring ten Premier League goals in 28 appearances across the course of the 2018/19 campaign.
However, even though age is a slight contributing factor, the Austrian’s market value has plummeted since departing East London.
Were West Ham right to sell Arnautovic?
During the period between 5 September 2019 and 27 May 2021, the forward’s value dropped by £19.8m from £28.8m to £9m, a whopping decrease of 68.75%. Currently, Arnautovic is valued at £5.4m with his worth constantly depreciating in value.
Granted, West Ham could currently do with more options in offence, with Michail Antonio the club’s only senior striker. However, the Hammers were right to part ways with Arnautovic when they did, with attitude a major issue and, since, the 32-yer-old’s market value has plummeted.