Excitement is growing ahead of West Ham United’s first season at their new home Olympic Stadium. The Hammers will surely start the upcoming season in a confident mood following their successful last season. Bilic did a great job in his first season as manager in English football leading the Hammers to Europa League qualification and it is time for them to build on their strong last season.
It’s quite a public knowledge that the Hammers are in the market for a quality top-flight striker and have been linked with plenty of them in the last month. If reports from The Daily Star are to be believed, Bilic’s long and winding search for a quality centre-forward has led them to an interest in his compatriot Mario Mandžukić.
With the astronomical big money arrival of Gonzalo Higuaín at the Turin club, the future of “Super Mario” at Juventus looks up in the air. Success has always followed the talismanic striker wherever he went even although the last season did not turn out to be the best for him as an individual.
The two-time Croatian Footballer of the Year managed 13 goals from 36 games in his first season in Italy although three impressive trophies were added to his resume. A move to West Ham might be appealing to the 30-year-old as he will be guaranteed game time at the Olympic Stadium under his countryman Bilic.
Mandžukić is known for his supreme aerial abilities, natural fitness and lethal finishing abilities. With a big frame of 6’3″, the Croatian excels in the air and is blessed with a gifted positioning. The 30-year-old is a ‘fox in the box’ and rarely misses when he gets a fire into the net. While most target mans are pretty static up front, Mandžukić has lungs of a horse and never stops working hard for the team.
The 30-year-old would be the perfect forward for West Ham’ counter-attacking game. We saw Andy Carroll setting the Premier League on fire in the closing stages of the last season but the Englishman’s consistent struggle with injuries makes him someone who cannot be relied upon for the whole season. Mandžukić, with his top-level experience and gifted ability to finish, is definitely the 15-goal striker the Hammers are looking for if not more.
£12m is the fee Juventus wants for the Croatian as The Daily Star and it would be a no-brainer from Bilic to match the Turin club’s demands and bring ‘Super Mario’ to the Olympic Stadium.