Why Mario Mandzukic Would Be The Best Signing For West Ham United This Summer
The rumours linking Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic with a move to West Ham United seem to be gaining more and more traction with each passing day. The 30-year old Croatian has been on the radar of the East Londoners for quite some time now and with the transfer window just a little over a month away, the rumours are intensifying.
Last month, former Besiktas director of football, Onder Ozen, who is a close aide of West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, said that Mandzukic will be joining the Hammers next campaign. He told Tivibu Spor (h/t Turkish Football)
“Mandzukic will not be here [Juventus] at the end of the season, he will go to West Ham United.”
These claims had come days after The Sun had reported that the Hammers had expressed strong interest in bringing him to the London Olympic Stadium. With so much smoke, there has got to be a fire.
West Ham have endured a poor campaign, that saw them finish 11th in the table, after having qualified for the Europa League, courtesy of a 7th-placed finish in the 2015/16 campaign. One of the biggest reasons behind their dismal season has been their lack of a proper striker.
Bilic brought in as many as three new strikers last summer – Simone Zaza, Ashley Fletcher, and Jonathan Calleri, to add to the contingent that already consisted of Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho. But things hardly went according to the manager’s plan.
Zaza struggled to adapt to English football and departed in January without scoring even once. Calleri managed just a single goal and so did Fletcher. Sakho was injured for the entire season, which left Bilic relying heavily on Carroll for goals. But with Carroll comes the added baggage of injuries and it was no different this time around as well. The 28-year old played just 18 league games and scored 7 times.
So it is no wonder that West Ham are out scouring the markets for a marksman and Mandzukic will be the perfect fit for them. The 31-year old is a proven performer and has been doing the job at the top level for years now. Having played more than 450 club games, Mandzukic has scored 191 goals throughout his career which also include highly successful spells with Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, and Juventus.
This season, with Juve, Mandzukic has had to make do with a role on the left flank due to the plethora of attacking talent available at the Italian champions’ disposal. Yet he has proven his worth to the team, contributing 10 goals and 8 assists, helping Juventus to another Scudetto and the Champions League final.
Strong in the air, extremely hard working and a grafter for the team, the Croatian international is the ideal fit for the way how West Ham play. With the amount of attacking talent behind him in the likes of Michail Antonio, Manuel Lanzini, and Robert Snodgrass etc., there will be no shortage of chances created for him, and Mandzukic knows very well how to convert them. His years of experience with the top sides will be a huge bonus for the team’s youngsters too.
Both the player and the manager know what they will be getting from each other, having worked together during Bilic’s days in charge of the Croatian national team. The manager finds himself under pressure and there is no guarantee that he will be at the helm for West Ham when the next season starts. But, irrespective of whether Bilic is the manager or not, the Hammers should make Mandzukic their priority signing and do everything within their power to get him.