How Inter Milan Lost out on a Potential Superstar in Marko Arnautovic

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJanuary 25, 2013

How Inter Milan Lost out on a Potential Superstar in Marko Arnautovic

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    When Inter Milan decided not to sign Twente loanee Marko Arnautović permanently, Werder Bremen took a chance on the troubled Austrian international.

    For two seasons, it appeared the Nerazzurri dodged a bullet and accurately envisaged the forward finding ways of hindering his development like Mario Balotelli.

    In the past few months, Arnautović has been spectacular, and if he can keep up his form, Werder will be able to sell him for a sizable profit.

    This article will discuss Marko’s run-in with then-Inter manager José Mourinho, why the Italian club ditched the idea of buying Arnautovic, his problematic start at Bremen and if he can become a superstar.  

José Mourinho Couldn't Stand Marko Arnautović

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    Mario Balotelli and Marko Arnautović had their development as Inter Milan footballers stunted by José Mourinho. 

    Marko had a carefree approach to life, so he sought friendship with the other happy-go-lucky first-teamer—Super Mario. 

    Both were brash, extravagant and outspoken.

    Gifted footballers with a propensity for mischievousness. 

    Naturally, they bonded. 

    Mourinho talked about the similarities of Marko and Mario (via Voetbal International): "Mario Balotelli is his [Arnautović] best friend, coincidentally they have the same problems. Marko is a great guy, but he has the mentality of a child."

    All-business, team-first and professionalism were the tenants José drilled into his Nerazzurri. At 25 years old, Wesley Sneijder was the youngest starter. 

    Mario and Marko's "you only live once" attitude resulted in them being treated as pariahs by José. 

    Mourinho psychologically tormented Mario so much that the Italian broke down, according to his mum.

    Arnautović had a remedy to his dissatisfaction (via The Austrian Times): "I tried to distract myself, but I did it the wrong way. Problems with Mourinho started when I went out five times a week despite being injured." 

    Mino Raiola orchestrated a lucrative move to Manchester City for Balotelli whilst Inter decided not to buy Arnautović, who spent more time partying than doing anything productive during his loan spell from Twente.  

Should Inter Milan Have Persevered with Marko Arnautović?

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    Marko Arnautović would have joined Inter Milan permanently if he didn't sustain a stress fracture to his right foot at Twente. 

    Instead, Inter signed him on loan with an option to buy for €10 million, according to Vince Masiello at

    Marko missed the start of the season due to injury and then played 55 minutes over three games in the second half of the campaign because he was in José Mourinho's bad books. 

    How could the Nerazzurri come to the conclusion of letting a player with world-class ability go when he wasn't given a fair chance? 

    It's like Arsenal flying in a 19-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimović, giving him a Gunners shirt, only for Arsène Wenger to call the deal off when the cocky teenager said (via Kevin Palmer at ESPN FC): "Zlatan doesn't do trials."

    Inter partly based their decision not to sign Marko because of his professionalism—or lack thereof. 

    He wasn't punctual for training, took the Nerazzurri shirt for granted and spent a lot of time partying. 

    Though, from a pure footballing perspective: he's two-footed, built like a tank, strong in the air, is creative, can dribble and has an eye for goal. 

    Inter have a habit of signing gifted forwards and then dispensing them when they start struggling: i.e. Adrian Mutu, Caio Ribeiro, Dennis Bergkamp, Luc Castaignos, Robbie Keane, Sebastián Ribas, etc. 

    If there is no set long-term plan in nurturing the prospect into an prolific goal scorer, why sign them in the first place? 

    Inter should have taken the risk and upgraded Marko's loan move into a full-time gig. 

Marko Arnautović's Up-and-Down Ride with Werder Bremen

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    German football journalist Tim Roehn recounted a funny anecdote about Marko Arnautović (via Andy Brassell at ESPN FC): 

    In his opinion, he's a 2010 Champions League winner, even if he didn't play. He even has 'Champions League winner 2010' printed on his football boots. He only wears them sometimes, but he did when he arrived and some of the other players in the team were laughing about it. He behaves like a megastar here in Bremen. He came from Inter and now he's in a relegation fight in Germany.

    When things were going south at Werder Bremen, Marko pouted and "distracted" himself again (via

    As Werder's season began to unravel, the forward dismissed the club as a "lemonade stand" and allegedly told [general manager Klaus] Allofs and coach Thomas Schaaf to return to where they came from, i.e. their mothers' reproductive organs.

    Only Allofs and Schaaf's lack of fluent Serbian stood between Arnautović and immediate dismissal—although he did earn himself a couple of later suspensions for, among other things, going out on a pub crawl as Bremen were fighting relegation.

    Inter Milan management must have had that "I told you so" mentality after Arnautović's first two seasons with Bremen. 

    So did Bert van Marwijk in the first few years after Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal.

    Guus Hiddink remembered RVP's rebellious nature (via Mirror Football):

    Robin used to be a right rascal. He used to clash in his early days in Holland with the big stars. 

    Big Pierre van Hooijdonk, who really was the star in the team, had his hands full with a young talent with a really strong mind and a strong head.

    At times Robin was really in his way. You just know in football that those sort of young talents can be ­misguided at times.

    But the Van Persie from those days has become a ­really good professional.

    After years of frank conversations with Arsène Wenger, Robin finally knuckled down, and eight years in, he netted his first 30-goal haul for the Gunners. 

    Look how dominant goal scorers like Zlatan Ibrahimović, Cristiano Ronaldo, Stefan Kießling, Alexander Meier, Marouane Fellaini, Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku and Ishak Belfodil are.

    Defenders are either too slow or too small in physical matchups.

    The aforementioned players are comfortable with the ball at their feet and can also dictate terms in the air. 

    Arnautović offers this variety and it's seldom you have a footballer who's in the top tier physically and technically. 

    He averages more dribbles per league game (2.4) than CR7 (1.5). 

    Marko has the same amount of combined Bundesliga goals and assists as Andre Schürrle (10) this season. 

    Look at the drastic improvement in Arnautović. 

    Kicker Player Rankings  
    2010-11 211
    2011-12 171
    2012-13 31

    Bild Player Rankings  
    2010-11 231
    2011-12 156
    2012-13 88

    If he can turn his career around like van Persie, who's now scoring goals for fun like Manchester United, then Marko will forever haunt Inter Milan just like they regretted the decision to reject Franco Baresi, never turning Andrea Pirlo into a star, selling Roberto Carlos and not helping Dennis Bergkamp through the hard times.

    Comment below with your opinion of Inter not buying Arnautović. 

    Wenger's Top 5 Alternatives to Adrián 

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    Statistics courtesy of and Squawka 


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