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A poor season at West Ham United made this decision an easy one but in truth, Marko Arnautovic’s form would likely have seen him named as the best player even if the Hammers had not spent another year battling relegation from the Premier League.

Directly contributing to 17 of his team’s 48 top-flight goals this term (11 strikes, six assists), the Austrian has had a huge hand in helping the East Londoners avoid the drop and all the financial and footballing implications that go with it.

In fact, his displays in the second half of the campaign make it difficult to remember just how poor he was at the start.

Signed from Stoke City in the summer, it was anticipated that Arnautovic would replace the flair that was lost when Dimitri Payet controversially departed the club midway through 2016-17, yet he was abysmal in the first few months, so much so that he even became a target of abuse from his own supporters.

It was only after David Moyes replaced Slaven Bilic in the West Ham dugout that the 29-year-old began to thrive and his manager must take credit for switching the winger into a more central striking role.

Fans can criticise the Scot for his sometimes overly pragmatic approach but one thing that he has done well is to extract the very best out of Arnautovic.

The former Werder Bremen man has looked fitter, sharper and hungrier under Moyes and his energy and skill up front has been a joy to behold at times.

Standout performances include the winner to put rivals Chelsea to the sword in December, a goal and two assists in the 4-1 win over Huddersfield Town just after New Year and a brace against Southampton in March to seal a crucial 3-0 victory.

Arnautovic has the potential to become a real cult icon at West Ham and the Irons faithful will be expecting whoever is in charge next season to build the team around their number seven.

If he can replicate his recent form for a whole campaign, along with a few new signings to bolster the midfield and defence, then there may be brighter days ahead for the Irons.

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