West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has handed free agent forward Mladen Petric a one-year contract at Upton Park and the former Fulham frontman showed enough last season to suggest he will score over 5.5 Premier League goals this year at even money.
Hammers vice-chairman Karen Brady told the Sun that the east Londoners attempted to lure Demba Ba, Romelu Lukaku and Nicklas Bendtner to the club at the end of the transfer window, underlining their current striker crisis.
Club record £15m signing Andy Carroll has suffered a further injury setback recently and reports suggest he may not play again in 2013.
Modibo Maiga, who has scored just two goals in 20 Premier League games for the Irons, has been tasked with leading the forward line so far this season, to little effect.
With Ricard Vaz Te, who made an impassioned plea to leave West Ham at the end of the transfer window, the only other viable option available to Allardyce in attack the experienced Petric has been drafted in to cover while Carroll is recovering.
The 45-times capped Croatian forward could be just the signing they need as he found the net five times in his first 12 league appearances for the Cottagers, despite only starting eight games during that period.
At Fulham, Petric had to battle with Dimitar Berbatov, Bryan Ruiz and Hugo Rodallega for a role in the first team.
After being replaced by Berbatov at half-time against the Hammers following the Bulgarian’s arrival from Man Utd at the end of the summer 2012 transfer window, Petric started just six of Fulham’s remaining league games last season and is sure to find his new employers more appreciative of his ample talents at the Boleyn Ground.
A three-year spell at Hamburg yielded an impressive 38 goals in 99 Bundesliga appearances and Petric’s career haul of over 140 goals at club and international level suggests he is a far better option up front than Maiga, whose best seasonal return of 15 goals for Ligue 1 Sochaux was over two years ago.
The Malian international hasn’t scored in nine Premier League games stretching back to last December and Petric can expect to replace his new teammate in Allardyce’s starting line-up sooner rather than later.