West Ham United have endured a tough start to the new Premier League season, having found themselves in the relegation zone prior to the recent international break after slumping to five defeats from their opening seven top-flight games.
That dismal beginning has come as something of a shock following what was an impressive summer of recruitment for the Hammers, notably securing the arrivals of the likes of Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca as part of eight major deals.
The latter man, in particular, has failed to make an impact in his brief outings in the league thus far, having yet to register a goal or an assist after making just a solitary start following his £35.5m switch from Sassuolo.
While the 6 foot 5 menace has netted three times in the Europa Conference League to date, there may well already be concerns over just how well the 23-year-old will be able to adapt to life in England, as he runs the risk of joining a plethora of other strikers who were unable to make the grade in east London.
One man who has already proven his quality in the Premier League so far this term, however, is Fulham talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic, with the Serbian brute having netted six goals in just seven league games for the newly-promoted Cottagers.
That is noteworthy due to the 28-year-old’s links to the London Stadium over the years, with the Irons having seemingly repeatedly missed out on the signature of a player who could well have thrived in David Moyes’ side.
Reports as far back as December 2016 reveal that the then-Newcastle United striker – who had joined the Magpies on a £13m deal in 2015 – was seemingly a target for the Hammers after struggling for a regular role at St James’ Park, having also then been offered to GSB a year later by the Tynesiders.
Again in the summer of 2019, there were reports that Manuel Pellegrini was targetting both Mitrovic and Valencia’s Maxi Gomez, although ultimately ended up with neither, as West Ham splashed the clash on £45m man, Sebastian Haller, instead.
Fast forward to last year and yet again rumours were circulating that Moyes and co were plotting a move for the 74-cap gem as a result of his Championship exploits, with club insider ExWHUemployee confirming that interest.
As it is, the £22.5m-rated powerhouse has eluded the east London outfit thus far, with that inability to get a deal done over the years having more than come back to bite them, as the former Anderlecht man has proven himself a real “prolific” figure of late, in the words of Mike Ryan.
The attacking “monster” – as dubbed by journalist Andy Naylor – has enjoyed a real revival over the past year or so, following what had been a disappointing 2020/21 campaign in which he scored just three top-tier goals, while also having missed a penalty as his country failed to qualify for Euro 2020.
The following season sparked a change in fortunes for the 6 foot 2 machine, however, as he plundered a record-breaking haul of 43 goals in the Championship alone, to help fire Marco Silva’s side to promotion.
Having already started the new season strongly for his club, the £60k-per-week man has also been in fine form for his country, most recently bagging a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Sweden, having helped fire Serbia to the World Cup last year after sealing a shock triumph over Portugal.
A player with a wealth of experience and undeniable quality in front of goal – with 188 club career goals to his name to date – Mitrovic may well be a figure that West Ham continue to rue, particularly should Scamacca’s early woes continue.