Everton fans could be forgiven for laughing spitefully from afar as Marko Arnautovic’s West Ham career got off to the worst possible start.
An anonymous showing in the opening weekend’s 4-0 battering at Manchester United was followed up by a disastrous trip to Southampton, in which the player once labelled ‘unmanageable’ by Jose Mourinho (The National) during their time at Inter Milan managed to get himself sent off after 33 minutes for a stupid elbow on Saints defender Jack Stephens.
Yet, Arnautovic too could be forgiven for wondering what he’s let himself in for. West Ham have lost each of their opening three Premier League games, their big-name signings look past their best, the future of manager Slaven Bilic is under more pressure than ever and the relationship between fans and owners remains strained.
Meanwhile, Everton, the club Arnautovic admitted to snubbing in 2016 despite personal pleas from Toffees boss Ronald Koeman (The Sun), are embarking upon the most exciting era in the club’s recent history.
They spent more money than ever before in the transfer window, bringing in proven Premier League talent in Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson not to mention youngsters with vast potential a la Sandro Ramirez, Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen and Michael Keane.
While The Hammers look set for another season of mid-table struggle at best, Everton are better placed than ever to challenge for a European place.
You wonder whether Arnautovic would be a little more receptive to Koeman’s pleas if he could turn back the clock.