Vedad Ibisevic: Five things you didn’t know about the West Ham target

With the Hoffenheim striker indicating that a move to West Ham United could be in the offing come January, we profile the Bosnian World Cup star

West Ham United may have undergone a busy summer of recruitment at Upton Park with three new strikers joining the club in a bid to cover for the currently injured Andy Carroll, but the Irons could be back in for another forward come January.

The Hammers had previously been linked with a move for VfB Stuttgart striker Vedad Ibisevic but while no deal materialised at the time, the player has this week admitted the situation could change once the mid-season transfer window opens at the turn of the year.

Speaking to the Bosnian said: "I stayed but you never know, if a good offer comes in, I may leave.

"Vahid Halilhodzic and Trabzonspor contacted me and offered me great conditions ... West Ham also wanted me, but Stuttgart did not want to sell this summer.

"The club had made some changes and the goal is a mid-table position ... I have bigger ambitions so that is why I may yet leave."

So what do we know about the Bundesliga hitman? Read on for five interest facts about the striker.

Ibisevic could have played for Team USA

Though born in Vlesenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ibisevic spent much of his formative years in the US after moving to St Louis in 2000. It was there that he developed as a footballer, with Soccer America naming him among the country’s top 25 recruits of 2002.

He went on to play college soccer, scoring 18 goals and providing four assists during his freshman season for the St Louis Bilikens and was named NCAA Freshman of the Year as well as earning a place in the All-American first team.

And while he never earned a call-up, Ibisevic may have been open to the idea.

"I have a green card and my sister is a citizen. But I never had anybody coming up to me asking me, nothing really," he told the New York Times.

“At the time I would have considered it, I really liked the whole situation with St. Louis, and probably if someone would have approached me I probably would have played for the U.S. national team. It is difficult now to talk about because it already past.”

The Bosnian had an ill-fated spell at Paris Saint-Germain

Long before the days of Dubai-based billionaires being based in the French capital, PSG were something of a mess, lurching from disaster to disaster, on and off the pitch, with little in the way of silverware to show for their endeavours.

It was against this backdrop that the young Ibisevic arrived at the Parc des Princes, with the Bosnian recruited by then manager Vahid Halihodzic – the man who recently masterminded Algeria’s run to the second round of the World Cup in Brazil.

However, any plans to slowly integrate Ibisevic into the first-team soon fell by the wayside after an early Champions League exit coupled with poor league form saw Halihodzic sacked.

The Bosnian forward would ultimately make just four appearances for PSG before heading to FC Dijon, first on loan and then on a permanent basis.

The 2008-09 season will always be a what if...

Signed from second division Alemannia Aachen by big-spending minnows TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in 2007, Ibisevic took time to settle at the German club but came into his own during the first half of the 2008-09 season – the club’s first in the Bundesliga.

In 17 league fixtures for the German side over the first half of the season, the Bosnian managed 18 goals including winners against the likes of Borussia Monchengladbach and Dortmund and laid on a further seven assists to help Hoffenheim reach the Bundesliga summit by Christmas.

But disaster struck during a training match played against Hamburg in Spain over the winter break, with Ibisevic picking up an anterior right cruciate ligament rupture that saw him miss the remainder of the campaign.

Hoffenheim struggled without their talismanic forward and suffered a tail-off in form that ultimately saw them miss out on European qualification that season. Had he avoided injury, then it could have been Hoffenheim, rather than Wolfsburg, that lifted the Bundesliga title that year.

Ibisevic has scored some big goals for Bosnia

The West Ham target lag behind Edin Dzeko in terms of goals and appearances, with the Manchester City man scoring 37 goals in 67 goals for his country compared to Ibisevic’s return of 24 in 60 for Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the 30-year-old has a habit of scoring on the big stage.

It was Ibisevic who netted the only goal against Lithuania in a result that secured their place at the World Cup in Brazil and the Stuttgart forward was on target again at the finals with a late goal against Argentina that gave the Eastern European minnows a faint glimmer of hope in their 2-1 loss.

That strike was Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first ever goal at a World Cup, ensuring Ibisevic holds a special place in the history of the national team.

He still feels bitter about their early World Cup exit

Despite scoring in their opening 2-1 loss to Argentina, Ibisevic could do little to prevent the national side exiting the World Cup at the earliest opportunity, with a 1-0 loss to Nigeria in their second game condemning them to an early flight home.

In a frustrating encounter Edin Dzeko had one goal wrongly disallowed for offside and was guilty of missing several guilt-edged chances. At the other end Emir Spahic was at fault for Peter Odemwingie’s goal and after the game Ibisevic was not too happy.

"We failed and we are responsible for it, some less, some more. We must now share the responsibility," he said.

"Regardless of the individuals, we win and lose as a team. We came to the World Cup with a desire to progress to the next round.

"However, I should be clear and say that we did not play well enough to reach the second round of the World Cup."

Let’s hope the Hammers aren’t embroiled in a relegation battle by the time of his potential arrival in January.

Check out a compilation of Ibisevic's best five goals in Germany - do West Ham need him?


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