By Will Butcher
Mario Mandzukic is West Ham’s number one January transfer target after scouts watched him play for Croatia, according to a report.
Hammers scouts were in attendance to see the Juventus striker find the back of the net for his country, as Croatia ran out 3-0 winners against Northern Ireland during the international break.
The Sun has now claimed that West Ham could be set to move for the striker in January, with £18million believed to be enough to lure him away from the Italian champions.
Manager Slaven Bilic is a keen admirer of the 30-year-old striker, after working with him during his time as Croatia’s national team manager.
The Hammers are likely to be after a striker, as new signings Simone Zaza, Jonathan Calleri, Andre Ayew and Ashley Fletcher have all failed to find the back of the net this season.
Mandzukic endured a difficult start this term with the Serie A giants, failing to find the net in nine league and cup matches.
Despite competition with Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, Mandzukic has turned his season around with four goals in his last six games including a strike against Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Football Insider verdict:
The signing of Mandzukic would be a huge signal of intent from West Ham. The Champions League winner has considerable pedigree after spells with the likes of Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg, and would more than certainly add an extra dimension of firepower to Bilic’s powderpuff strike force. The potential signing of Mandzukic could spell the end for a number of West Ham strikers. Calleri and Zaza have had wretched starts to their loan spells, while Diafra Sakho, who was recalled at the weekend after three months on the sidelines, could also be sidelined as Mandzukic would shoot straight to the top of the attacking pecking order.
In other West Ham transfer news, scouts have also been watching this in-form Europa League star.