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Player Profile: West Ham should avoid Nikola Kalinic
19/06/2018, 13:25
As bad as this sounds, Nikola Kalinic being sent home by Croatia Coach Zlatko Dalic for refusing to play a reserve role is the least West Ham fans have to worry about.

Also wanted by the Big Three in Turkey (Besiktas, Fenerbache and Galatasaray), Kalinic is coming off a catastrophic six-goal season in Serie A, and is already 30 years old.

Things weren’t supposed to be this way. He looked like a clever signing for a team high on signings (over €200 million’s worth), pomp and attacking talent. With young hotshots André Silva and Patrick Cutrone needing tutelage and a veteran alternative, Kalinic felt like a fit, having banged in 27 goals in two Serie A seasons with Fiorentina.

His emergence on the Italian scene back in 2015/2016 had been remarkable, the former Dnipro man scoring ten goals before Christmas as the Viola briefly held an unlikely lead in the table.

It wouldn’t last, though the Croatian bettered his tally the following season (15 goals) to look like an expert operator, and someone who deserved to make the leap.

When he signed for Milan, sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli joked in the press conference that Milan would “send Kalinic back if he didn’t score”. Few are inclined to laugh now, with the Rossoneri coming sixth and facing heavy fines (or worse) from Financial Fair Play.

As someone very presciently wrote, Milan didn’t get the former Fiorentina star, they got the Blackburn flop.

He was supposed to be a goalmouth predator, the kind of player who scores goals with excellent position, with a great final touch to beat his man and a cool demeanour in the box.

Milan fans thought the 30-year-old was just that when he bagged an impressive brace to down Udinese in late September. Instead, it was more like his swansong, the former Fiorentina star only notching four more in League play the rest of the way, looking sullen and unable to hold up physically, something that will destroy him in England - and which already has.

For West Ham fans hoping that this latest Croatia tizzy was an exception… it isn’t. A demotivated Kalinic reacted to not being picked to a recent game with Chievo by training lazily in the days leading up to the game. Would Rino Gattuso punish this kind of behaviour? Is the Pope Catholic?

The fans haven’t spared the 30-year-old, who came a horrifying LAST in the Milan fans’ Reddit survey of players who had tallied a certain amount of minutes.

We hate to say this, but West Ham fans may be dodging a bullet. The Superlig may be a better destination for Kalinic, especially if he is guaranteed starting time. If a team like Istanbul BB can offer the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Emre Belozoglu and Arda a new start… why not Kalinic?

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