Why Mario Mandzukic could be a smart signing for West Ham
According to a report from the Daily Mail, West Ham have joined Manchester United in the race to sign Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, who rejected a move to Qatar earlier this month.
The Croatian international, 33, hasn’t fallen down the pecking order under Maurizio Sarri and is yet to feature for Juventus this season. After failing to break back into the first team, he turned down a huge offer from Qatari side Al-Rayyan to seal his dream move to the Premier League.
Manchester United, meanwhile, are searching for a new striker and would be willing to take Mario Mandzukic on a short-term basis. They sold Romelu Lukaku during the summer to Inter Milan, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with limited options upfront.
However, West Ham also have their problems upfront and must beat Manchester United to the towering Croat’s signature during the January transfer window.
West Ham’s record signing, Sebastien Haller has adapted to the Premier League like a duck to water after arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt this summer.
The Frenchman has impressed with his hold-up play, clever movement and finishing skills, quickly becoming a favourite at the London Stadium. But the Hammers don’t boast a lot of striking options, with young Albian Ajeti the only player to compete and cover for Haller.
Should Haller gets injured in any case, Manuel Pellegrini will have no option but to rely on Ajeti, who apparently isn’t yet ready for Premier League football. So, that makes the signing of another centre-forward a lot of sense and Pellegrini should definitely go for Mandzukic.
Despite entering the twilight of his career, Mandzukic is still a fantastic player. He scored 10 goals and provided seven assists in all competitions for Juventus last season. The Croatian international is one of the hardest working forwards in the world, known for his selfless approach and willingness to help his team defensively whenever required.
The ex-Bayern Munich man is a prolific goalscorer who is a massive threat in the box. Very strong in the air, he is an absolute pest for defenders in the final third. Mandzukic’s best attribute is his ability to hold the ball up in the air during the build-up and bringing others into the game.
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A World Cup finalist with Croatia, the 33-year-old has volumes of European experience having turned out for some top clubs like Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Juventus.
All in all, Mandzukic is the right kind of player to compete with Haller at the top of the attack for West Ham. For a club having ambitions of playing in Europe, Pellegrini could do much worse than the vastly experienced Croatian striker.