West Ham striker Nikica Jelavic failed to capitalise on a chance to prove himself at Anfield on Saturday having come off the bench for the injured Cheikhou Kouyate just past the half-hour mark, however, his performance in the 0-0 draw with Liverpool in the FA Cup really highlighted his time in east London.
The Croatian striker really hit the ground running in England’s top flight when he made a £5 million move to Everton back in January 2012, scoring 11 in his first 16 games. But, his next two seasons on Merseyside proved a disappointment and it only got worse when he spent 18 months at Hull before signing for the Hammers in September of last year.
For a side aiming for a Europa League spot, it was a gamble to bring the out-of-touch forward to Upton Park and the risk hasn't really paid off. With the hopes he could resurrect his career following a £3 million transfer to London, Jelavic has only appeared on the score sheet twice in 12 appearances for the Hammers.
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Jelavic has fallen short of game time, demoting him down the pecking order behind the likes of Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll - despite his injury problems - and Enner Valencia, who has hit top gear recently.
It’s only been five months since he made the move to Upton Park and with a summer move to China on the cards, there is a high possibility Jelavic could be heading for the exit before his contract expires next year. The forward has been far from spectacular in his short spell under manager Slaven Bilic and the fans will undoubtedly feel glad to see the back of him.
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With a Europa League spot intact, the Hammers can’t be wasting their time on a striker who fails to exceed their expectations. With Valencia dominating proceedings and the returns of fans’ favourites Carroll and Sakho on the horizon, there is next to no chance that Jelavic could outshine them if he was to stay next season.
Unlike West Ham’s other strike trio, the Croatian falls short of providing any sort of attacking threat when given the opportunity to shine. Albeit, he was never going to set the world alight and was originally purchased to play backup for Sakho and Carroll. However, as the pair continue to face the treatment table, filling the vacant striking role has proven a disaster for their attacking threat.
West Ham need a striker that quickly adapts well to Bilic’s pass-to-feet regime and fast movement. Moreover, they need to purchase a player who can challenge for a regular starting spot and help the Hammers reach their European ambitions - Jelavic definitely doesn’t fit the bill.
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