West Ham United remain one of the most historic clubs in the English Premier League, even if the prolific line of youth players coming through the once-heralded academy has slowed down in recent years. A recent report stated that the Hammers are hoping to pair Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic with new signing Sebastian Haller as David Gold and David Sullivan try to solve a striker problem stretching back beyond their takeover of the club in 2010.
The Juventus striker is thought to be unhappy following the decision of the Turin club to leave he and German international midfielder Emre Can out of their Champion’s League squad. In the history of the Premier League, the striker issue at the Boleyn Ground and not at the London Stadium has been well documented with the recently released Andy Carroll the top-scoring striker since 2010 with just 34 goals. In total, the strikers at the club have scored just 203 goals in 957 games showing the problems the Hammers have had to get the ball in the back of the net.
The question is will Mandzukic offer anything different from the recently departed Mexican striker, Javier Hernandez. “The Little Pea” has been one of the top strikers around for the last decade since Sir Alex Ferguson decided to bring him to Old Trafford with the forward claiming he would have run his contract at the London Stadium down if he would not have been sold to Valencia during the transfer window. Haller has shown himself to be an impressive striker in his first few games for West Ham but the false dawns of the past have left Hammers fans struggling to find solace in their current success.
If Mandzukic can be brought to West Ham United, it would undoubtedly be a coup for a club who have seen a number of deals fall through over the last few seasons. Mandzukic was said to be attracting interest from Manchester United in the summer transfer window with the striker thought to have been reassured of his Champion’s League future at Juventus as he decided to stay at the club for the near future.
The failures of the West Ham United striker force are made even more shocking by recent stats showing creative midfielder Manuel Lanzini is second to Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne in terms of assists in the English Premier League.
Creativity is not a problem at the London Stadium where the England midfielder Declan Rice could do with learning a little from his peers at the club. During England’s recent win over Bulgaria, Three Lions fans seemed unsure about what role the Hammers youngster actually played. Despite making 98 of 111 passes, Rice was singled out for his lack of creativity in a game where England clearly dominated from the first whistle.
If West Ham manager, Manuel Pellegrini is to push the team into the European spots of the Premier League he will need Haller and Rice to make important contributions as they move forward into the difficult winter months of the season.