West Ham United were unequivocal that it was £50million or nothing for Marko Arnautovic in January.
The striker was the subject of interest from two Chinese clubs during the winter window.
According to the likes of The Telegraph West Ham rejected a £35million bid for the Austrian ‘out of hand’.
Whether it was ‘not being in the right frame of mind’, injured or benched, Arnautovic has barely featured since.
Hammers tried to do the right thing
In fairness West Ham’s owners and manager Manuel Pellegrini probably felt they were doing the right thing.
After all the Hammers were only just recovering from having their hand forced to sell Dimitri Payet for relative peanuts two years ago.
West Ham were said to be demanding £50million for Arnautovic.
All the while they were busy lining up potential replacements.
West Ham’s refusal to accept the £35 million on the table from China meant AC Milan were able to win the race for Piatek for the same fee.
West Ham were in the box seat but stubbornness backfired
Piatek himself has since admitted West Ham were offering him more money than Milan (Sportitalia).
But their stubbornness has backfired spectacularly.
West Ham not only ended up giving Arnautovic more money in an improved deal, they simultaneously lumbered Pellegrini with a player whose heart is not in it and with whom supporters are not happy.
Meanwhile in typical fashion Piatek has proved an instant hit at the San Siro.
Four goals in his first four games has lifted Milan into the Champions League places.
West Ham dropped clanger
It is no secret Arnautovic’s situation has been unsettling during a winless run stretching back five games to January 12th.
Pellegrini, captain Mark Noble, Pablo Zabaleta and Declan Rice have all stated publicly it has caused problems.
Shedding Arnautovic and taking a chance on someone like Piatek would have reinvigorated West Ham’s season.
Who knows they may even still be in the most wide open FA Cup in decades with a real chance of going all the way.
All ifs and buts of course.
The summer will be interesting with the future of all four of West Ham’s senior strikers uncertain.