Friday, November 15, 2019

Is a move for Mandzukic really the right one for Manchester United?

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According to the Express, Manchester United have reached a verbal agreement with Juventus worth £10million to sign veteran Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic in the January transfer window. The move would certainly be an interesting one if the deal went through.

Smacks of desperation

This looks like a desperate short-term signing from Manchester United. At 33 years of age, the Croatian forward is at the tail-end of his career. Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has made it known that veteran striker is not in his long-term plans. Such is the late stage of his career that he has been linked with last payday moves to China and Qatar.

United reportedly saw a move for the experienced striker fall through during the summer transfer window, as Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is believed to be a big fan of the striker. To be fair Mandzukic is not a terrible striker. However, Solskjaer is supposedly attempting to create a young, vibrant team at Old Trafford. The signing of Mandzukic would completely go against that objective.

United do need a new forward

One of the strangest happenings at United in the summer was that they allowed Romelu Lukaku to leave without a replacement lined-up. The decision to let Lukaku leave seems like a logical one, as the relationship between player and club had soured. The 26-year-old never quite lived up to his hype at Old Trafford either. The forward’s move to Inter suited all parties involved.

However, the move left United with just two out-and-out strikers, one of whom was just 17 years of age in Mason Greenwood. The youngest is a bright prospect, but United cannot expect him to come on every game and have an impact.

The other forward available to Solskjaer is Marcus Rashford. The England international will be 22 at the end of the month and has struggled for confidence in front of goal. He does have a lot of the attributes needed to be a top Premier League player.

Whether his future lies as a central striker or a wide player only time will tell. Rashford is pacey and has good dribbling ability, but he at times he does not look like a natural finisher.

Maybe when he is older he will be more clinical in front of goal. However, he is not currently looking like the answer for United in the long-term. The men from Manchester need a more experienced striker to return to former glories.

Solskjaer one of the favourites to lose his job

The lack of a proven top-class striker has been one of United’s biggest problems this season. They have scored more than one goal just once in their eight top-flight games this season, which was in an opening day 4-0 home mauling of Chelsea.

The lack of goals has seen United slip to 12th place in the table after their worse start to a season in the Premier League era. United’s poor start to their league campaign means that Solskjaer is now second favourite at odds of 9/4 to be the next English top-flight boss to lose his job.

To be fair to the Norwegian, it is not just a quality striker missing from United’s team. The quality throughout is not great, so it is not a major surprise that the Red Devils are struggling.

Maybe Solskjaer is out of his depth as Manchester United boss. Maybe also his biggest mistake was not signing a striker in the summer. The way things are going, the former Molde boss may not be at the club to sanction the January signing of Mandzukic anyway.

Would Mario Mandzukic be a good signing for Manchester United in January?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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