ESPN FC pundit Steve Nicolas believes Manchester United have pretty much reached an agreement to sign Mario Mandzukic from Juventus in January. The Croatian striker was strongly linked with a move to the Red Devils during the summer transfer window but the club were put after the Bianconeri placed a £14m price tag on his head.
Mandzukic has since been excluded from the first-team plans of manager Maurizio Sarri at Juventus and reports have emerged that he could be available for a cheaper price of around £9m when the transfer window reopens. Speaking on ESPN FC, former Liverpool star Nicol believes the Red Devils are on course to land the signature of Mandzukic and the veteran should prove a worthwhile signing, considering the club’s struggles upfront this term.
He said: “I think it happens and I think it’s pretty much signed and sealed as well. So yeah I don’t think there’s any question this is a hit. It’s something that United need but let’s be honest, it’s going against all the nonsense they gave us at the start of the season about youth – yeah right. He’s not going to do any worse [than what United have]. All the young players, the likes of [Mason] Greenwood, they’re not ready for the Premier League. Mandzukic, an old campaigner, experienced. He will come in for a short period of time and do a good job.”
United took the gamble by sanctioning the departures of both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez (on loan) to Inter Milan during the summer with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confident that Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial can impress upfront. However, that has not been the case with Martial in the treatment room with an injury for more than a month while Rashford has been largely out of form and has squandered a few clear-cut chances on goal. Taking this into regard, Mandzukic should prove a quality purchase with the experience of playing for multiple elite European clubs.