West Ham are more likely to sign Mario Mandzukic on loan from Juventus in January than on a permanent basis after it emerged that the Croatia international is on Manuel Pellegrini’s radar, according to the Daily Star.
The newspaper claims that Pellegrini wanted to sign Mandzukic last summer when he first became West Ham manager but now he has been left short of options in his strike force due to Javier Hernandez’s move to Sevilla and the 33-year-old striker has re-emerged as a wanted man at the London Stadium.
It is understood that the Hammers are now weighing up whether or not to make a move for Mandzukic once the transfer window re-opens in January, but due to concerns about his age, the Premier League club would be more inclined to strike a loan deal than buying the striker outright from Juve.
It would definitely be a better idea for West Ham to sign Mandzukic on a loan deal than a permanent one, but only if the terms can be advantageous to the London club. Mandzukic is yet to kick a ball for Juventus this season and has been left out of their squad for the Champions League group stages, so it would be fair to assume that by the time January comes around, the Croatian forward will be severely lacking match fitness. Mandzukic’s arrival could also create cause for concern for Albian Ajeti, who is currently Pellegrini’s second-choice striker before club-record signing Sebastien Haller. Ajeti, 22, is 11 years younger than Mandzukic and as he is a player who is contracted to the Hammers, handing him opportunities should be a priority. A lot can change between now and January so West Ham’s opinion can change, but at the moment, this just does not seem like a transfer that will happen.