After news surfaced today that Manchester United had ended their pursuit of bringing Paulo Dybala to Old Trafford, this was followed by the Red Devils getting closer to sign another striker in Turin.
Various news outlets, including the Daily Mail, have reported United are getting closer to signing Mario Mandzukic from Juventus whilst ending their interest in the Bianconeri’s Argentinian striker. Many Red Devils fans aren’t best pleased with the 33 year old coming to Manchester. Perhaps due to their experiences with Sanchez and Matic, both good players but sharply declining.
Yet this article will explain why the Croatian international could be a shrewd signing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side:
Experience and leadership
Mandzukic’s statistics and career path so far speaks for itself. Title wins in Germany and Italy, including a Champions League for Bayern and a Supercopa de Espana for Atletico, the man is a serial winner. Oh and quietly a World cup finalist, the striker is proven on the European and international stage.
But alongside winning the trophies, the former Bayern foward has played a massive part in the silverware he has to his name. Goals in 2 Champions League finals (one being that sensational overhead kick against Real Madrid), a World Cup semi-final winning goal against England (still hurts Mario), a World Cup final goal and match winning performances off the bench. The definition of a big game player.
This United squad is crying out for the leaders and winners they had of yesteryear. The Keanes, Nevilles, Ferdinands, Rooneys, even Ibrahimovic. The former Wolfsburg striker is a winner and someone who performs on the pitch, leading from the front.
A different option – Impact Player
While Marcus Rashford grows into his role as United’s main striker, Mandzukic provides the perfect option of the bench to make an impact if the game isn’t going to plan.
At 6ft 3, the former Zagreb forward is dominant in the air and a massive threat in the box. Coupled with his ability to score the spectacular or be a poacher in the box, Mandzukic is a great super sub, the ideal Romelu Lukaku replacement willing to play second fiddle.
Work-rate and team player
But something the Old Trafford faithful would love with the Croatian is his industriousness and stamina. Even at 33 years of age and 6ft 3, Mandzukic presses effectively when on the pitch and has impressive defensive output. 1.4 tackles and 0.5 interceptions per game (courtesy of WhoScored.com)
He epitomises the phrase team player, putting in a shift every time he is called upon, defensively and up front. Willing to press hard for 90 minutes or come off the bench every couple of games, Mandzukic is an absolute beast even at 33.
I’ll even go as far to stay the most underrated striker in the 21st century. No one even mentions the goals he has scored, the passion he plays with and the ridiculous defensive output he has. Mario Mandzukic, don’t overlook how good of a replacement he could be for Lukaku United fans.
If Dybala was not pursued due to questions over his commitment to the the club, Mandzukic at the bare minimum will put 110% in for the red shirt every game.
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