‘Crazy Marko’ has settled down and is entering his peak years

David Meagher says West Ham’s record signing has grown up over recent seasons

Marko Arnautovic’s arrival highlights a determination at the club to push to a higher level by bringing in quality players with proven Premier League ability.

At 28 years of age, Arnautovic is at the peak of his career and can add pace, power and guile to the West Ham attack. Technically strong and two footed, he is usually positioned on the left from where he often cuts inside, while his frequent runs into the box provide a useful target for teammates looking to unlock defences.

At 6ft 4in he is physical but not injury prone. Arnautovic’s scoring record during his four years in the Premier League is 22 in 125 appearances. One goal every 5.4 games is not especially impressive but needs to be considered in the context of playing in a low-scoring Stoke City side. When you factor in chances created and assists his stats match Michail Antonio.

However, he can also be infuriatingly inconsistent and it will be a big challenge for Super Slav and his coaching team to keep Arnautovic focused and productive.

Moreover, Bilic likes his forwards to contribute to the defensive effort and will note Arnautovic’s former team mate Charlie Adams warning that he is not naturally inclined to track back and help his full back with defensive duties. Slaven and his coaching team may also want to work on Marko’s discipline as he has a tendency to give away free kicks and last season accumulated nine yellow cards and one red.

‘Arnie’ has had his fair share of dramas at former clubs. Never shy of speaking his mind, Jose Mourinho who managed Arnautovic at Inter Milan for a year suggested that he had ‘the attitude of a child’, while Steve McLaren reported that in his time at FC Twente that Arnautovic proved ‘the craziest player he had worked with’.

However, it is worth noting that since arriving in England he has largely kept out of trouble. Perhaps he has grown up at just the right time.

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