The Curious Case of Marko Arnautovic - Already Forgotten Footballer & Multi-Millionaire

With chewing over the fat of the weekend's football vanquished from our calendars for goodness knows how long, it's a strange time to be writing about football.

Nothing is happening, nobody can go anywhere and more worrying, nothing can be seemingly be done to stop the worldwide coronavirus pandemic from escalating further.

So with a cup of tea in hand, a Bourbon biscuit on the side, the doors to my flat firmly locked and a blank canvas in front of me, I asked myself one question - while probably looking like Pep Guardiola does below.

Pep Guardiola

What am I going to write about now?

Well, I've sensed this is an opportunity to get a few things off my chest. A few irritating little subjects that have been bubbling (hint, hint to what's coming) away under the surface, waiting to emerge when the time was right.

And what better time than now to revisit some old ground. What better way than to kick off the week than discussing former ​West Ham forward Marko Arnautovic, a toxic talent who deserved the footballing oblivion awaiting him in China.

Those were my words when he packed his bags, sauntered off into the London sunset and boarded a one-way flight to Shanghai, never to be seen again.


Okay, that last bit is an exaggeration but you could get the drift - his career in prominent European football was over, for now at least.

So how's he been getting on since he swapped the glitz, glamour and relentless rain of the Premier League for the.....even glitzier, probably more glamorous and definitely a lot more humid

Chinese Super League? 

Well, kind of okay.

A goal return of nine in 11 games is a pretty healthy record and Arnautovic gets to play his football each week with the likes of Oscar and Hulk. Not bad company at all.

Not only that, the nomadic Austrian - who let's not forget has caused trouble pretty much everywhere he's gone - is pocketing an absolute barrel load of money, living what we can only presume to be a life of luxury in the Chinese capital.

Obviously, as there is with most things, there will be some drawbacks for Arnautovic. Embracing and understanding a totally different culture and trying to communicate with his teammates to name just two. 

But far greater than that, he's also done exactly what I thought he would do. He's become a nobody in the footballing world.

Yep, outside of the sphere of Asian football - which is yet to conquer and be plastered around the international market - Arnautovic is not even close to being on the radar, let alone being on it. He's out of touch, out of sight and very much out of mind.

Still, that may not bother him just yet. 

But what might bother him is the fact that the Chinese Super League has lost the appeal that it had when ​Arnautovic arrived. A salary cap - limiting wages to the equivalent of £2m-per-year - was introduced at the back end of last year, meaning players will no longer pocket the extortionate amounts of money once invested into the league (present contracts aside).

Marko Arnautovic

It means big name stars who are already there are looking to leave, rather than arrive - purely because of the standard of football is not that high. Carlos Tevez, Axel Witsel and Yannick Carrasco - three of the bigger names to make the jump - have already departed (Carrasco after the changes were made) and you feel a mass exodus is likely over the next 12 months, once contracts need reviewing and renewing.

Arnautovic will likely follow suit, once he's trousered enough money, and soon enough will be pledging allegiance to new employers. 

But let's not forget, this is the same person who claimed after signing a new contract at West Ham - weeks after requesting to leave - that 'the fans gave me the power, they gave me the energy. That's why I have to be here and that's why I want to stay'.

Six months later, he did the same again and this time was on his way out of east London. 

Nomads, eh?

Source : 90min