Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton has told BBC Radio 5 Live that Marko Arnautovic is the closest talisman West Ham United have had since the sale of Dimitri Payet to Marseille in January 2017.
West Ham fans adored Payet as the 31-year-old joined the Hammers in the summer of 2015, only to rejoin Marseille just 18 months later. In that time he won the Player of the Season award, scoring 18 goals and providing 25 assists.
Since his departure, the Hammers have lacked the kind of flair and creative audacity that Payet brought to the table. However, they looked to replace that by splashing out a club-record fee on Arnautovic in the summer.
Though it has been a tricky start for the Austria international in east London, he has since taken to life under David Moyes, scoring nine goals and adding six assists in 30 outings. Sutton believes he is the closest to Payet that West Ham have come.
"The impact Marko Arnautovic has had at West Ham has been immense since moving from Stoke," Sutton said. "He is the key man. West Ham haven't had a talisman since Dimitri Payet, he's the closest they have come.
"He has been inspirational, got goals, assists has a good work ethic."
However, the former Stoke City ace could not add to his goal tally on Monday night against his former club, as the Hammers stuttered to a 1-1 draw in a match that almost saw them suffer defeat at the London Stadium.
Arnautovic had a goal disallowed for being offside, before being declared offside for Edimilson Fernandes' strike. Andy Carroll finally cancelled out Peter Crouch's opener in the 90th minute.
West Ham and Arnautovic look almost safe from relegation this season, as they sit in 14th and seven points clear of the bottom three.