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Trophy hunter Marko Arnautovic could have egg on his face this weekend over his reasons for leaving West Ham
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Trophy hunter Marko Arnautovic could have egg on his face this weekend over his reasons for leaving West Ham

Marko Arnuatovic insisted he wanted to leave West Ham United in search of trophies back in June.

When China came calling for a second time, Arnautovic made it clear he wanted out.

Eventually he got his own way with West Ham accepting a cut-price £22.5million deal from Shanghai SIPG.

In demanding a move for a second time in six months – and just a few months after signing a new deal with the club – Arnautovic sullied his reputation with Hammers fans.

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‘He wants to challenge for titles’

But perhaps the most galling aspect of Arnautovic’s departure was his insistence – via his agent and brother Danijel – that he was leaving in search of trophies rather than riches.

As reported by The Guardian at the time, Arnautovic’s brother claimed he wanted to ‘challenge for titles’ in China.

The claim invited ridicule from football fans and pundits alike. Paul Merson famously said on Soccer Saturday: “If his agent had come out and said that’s a lorry load of money, we cannot turn that down then I think people will understand that.

“Don’t say trophies. I mean if you said to his brother, ‘what are the trophies over there?’ ‘What are the cups called?’ He wouldn’t know.”

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Trophy-hunter Arnie to end up with egg on his face?

Now the former Hammers striker might end up with egg on his face.

Because Shanghai SIPG are currently second in the Chinese Super League with three games remaining.

And they must beat leaders Guangzhou Evergrande away from home on Saturday morning – an hour before West Ham take on Spurs – to have any hope of winning the title.

Victory for Evergrande would put them four points clear with two games remaining, but effectively five given their superior goal difference.

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Second really is nowhere in a footballing backwater

That would mean they would have to lose both their remaining games for Arnautovic’s new side to topple them.

The Austrian has scored just four goals in 11 appearances since his move.

They say second is nowhere. That is particularly true in a footballing backwater like China.

West Ham fans would not be surprised to see Arnautovic return to Europe with his tail between his legs.