English Premiership

'Mad Marko' an eye-catching addition to Chinese football

Marko Arnautovic (AP)
Marko Arnautovic (AP)

London - Marko Arnautovic might not have the superstar status of China's biggest football imports, but the volatile Austrian will provide goals and drama in equal measure after he completed a move from West Ham to Shanghai SIPG on Monday.

The Premier League club announced the deal for an undisclosed fee, but reports suggest the Hammers will get just £22 million ($28 million) for the 30-year-old after turning down a £35 million bid just six months ago when interest from China first arose.

Arnautovic was keen to go then and it showed in the diminishing returns towards the end of his time at West Ham with just three of his 22 goals for the club coming after the January transfer window closed.

Rather than hold onto an unhappy player with a reputation for sulking when he does not get what he wants, West Ham have cut their losses to allow Arnautovic to continue a nomadic career that had already taken him to the Netherlands, Germany and Italy before a six-year stint in England.

Arnautovic will join forces with former Brazilian internationals Oscar and Hulk at the Chinese champions and while he may lack their global appeal, the man labelled 'Mad Marko' for his explosive antics, brings quite the reputation.

Jose Mourinho once described Arnautovic as having the attitude of a child, while Steve McClaren, his boss at FC Twente, reportedly told friends he was the craziest player he had ever managed.

A close pal of former Manchester City star Mario Balotelli, another player happy to embrace a bad-boy tag, Arnautovic infuriated Mourinho when he briefly played on loan at Inter Milan.

'Keep my mouth shut'

While in Italy, Arnautovic borrowed team-mate Samuel Eto'o's Bentley and it was stolen while in his possession.

"I drove it for two weeks to check whether I liked it. I was at a restaurant with friends when it was stolen. This incident affected me so badly I was unable to train," Arnautovic said at the time.

He has also cycled into a golf cart, tore a knee ligament while playing with his dog and reportedly insulted a Vienna policeman by saying: "Shut up, I earn so much I can buy your life".

While playing for Werder Bremen, he was suspended after he was pulled over in his sports car by police for speeding in the early hours of the morning before a match.

He had already got off to a bad start by turning up to training with 'Champions League winner 2010' printed on his boots, even though he was left out of the Inter squad for the final.

Arnautovic vowed to turn over a new leaf after the birth of his baby daughter, just before his £2 million transfer to Stoke in 2013.

"I must keep myself under control. I have a big responsibility as a father. That helps me to be more sensible," he said. 

"It's better I keep my mouth shut. Let my feet do the talking."

Initially, Arnautovic made a positive impression at Stoke, but he angered then boss Mark Hughes by requesting a transfer when he was alerted to interest from West Ham.

After sealing a £20 million switch to the Londoners in 2017, he won the club's player of the year award with 11 goals in his debut season.

But again relations turned sour in his second season when Arnautovic made it clear he fancied a move to China in January.

His wish for a massive pay-day in the Far East has finally been granted and there should be fireworks to go with his football.

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