There is one thing footballers crave more than money and that is glory. So, stories about Arnautovic moving to China have to be taken with a pinch of salt. There is no history of a player at the peak of his form moving to Asia. I suppose, his brother and agent, Danijel, has to be seen earning his crust. But his statements could end up badly misfiring.
I listened to a West Ham fan ranting and raving on You Tube, where every second word began with f. It is understandable when we have been through the debacle with Payet, where the player effectively went on strike and had no respect for the contract he had signed, the club or the fans. It demonstrated moral cowardice of the worst sort.
But, if the club receives a sensible offer for a player, then it is all part of the modern game. If, for example, Chelsea offered £50 million, we would have little to complain about, although it would be better if this was deferred until the end of the season. It is rumoured David Sullivan has set a target of £60 million.
So, as we face Arsenal, I felt the main point of interest was how Arnautovic would play. Could all this have kicked off because he came off against Birmingham? Surely not.
Talking about glory, we who attended today can say and will always remember when Declan Rice scored his first goal. His performance was absolutely brilliant and he is now the glue that holds the West Ham defence together.
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
These words from Henry V seem appropriate today. It seems like a watershed moment when we transformed ourselves into a band of brothers, who were able to neutralise Arsenal for most of the game.
We have five brilliant players – Fabianski, Diop, Rice, Anderson and Arnautovic. But the others who played today cannot be faulted for effort. Antonio also seemed to discover his correct position and if he could actually get a ball on target when he cuts inside, he too would join the list.
So, from now on, it is onwards and upwards. Finally, I can write these words without keeping my fingers crossed behind my back.