West Ham are plotting a swoop to sign Juventus centre-forward Mario Mandzukic in the January transfer window, according to the Mirror.
The newspaper claims that Manuel Pellegrini is eyeing up the 33-year-old amid a “striker crisis” at the London Stadium with Michail Antonio set to be sidelined for four months with a serious hamstring injury.
It is understood that Javier Hernandez’s move to join Sevilla in the last few days has also sparked the Hammers’ interest in Mandzukic, who is yet to make an appearance for Juventus this season.
This would not make a lot of sense. West Ham got rid of Hernandez because he was down the pecking order, earning a lot of money, 31-years-old and was in the final year of his contract. It made sense to sell the Mexico international, even though his exit has left Pellegrini light of options up front. Sebastien Haller and Albian Ajeti are the Irons’ only natural strikers in the senior squad, although Xande Silva and Andriy Yarmolenko could probably both play a role there if needed. We are still in early September and looking at the January transfer window is odd. Mandzukic’s position at Serie A giants Juventus could change by then and you get the feeling that West Ham would simply be replacing Hernandez with someone who is going to be very similar. Ageing, not on a long deal, earning big wages and so on. Mandzukic is a top striker and most Premier League clubs would be lucky to have him. However West Ham are heading in a new direction of signing younger players and they should keep that up.