Saturday August 10 2019
Mandzukic one of a kind

Mario Mandzukic doesn’t appear to be part of Maurizio Sarri’s plans, but Vilizar Yakimov thinks Juventus would be wrong to lose the big Croat so easily.

After starting the summer mercato strongly, Juventus’ transfer dealings seem to be taking a strange twist.

The Bianconeri shipped Joao Cancelo to Manchester City in a swap deal that saw Danilo moving to Turin as well as €30mln entering the Old Lady’s bank account. While the Portugal international never really fulfilled his potential under Massimiliano Allegri, he was one of the players that were expected to thrive under Maurizio Sarri.

The Cancelo-Danilo swap didn’t go well with the Bianconeri tifosi, but Juve’s attempts to send Paulo Dybala to Manchester United in another exchange deal for Romelu Lukaku were considered by many to be pure madness.

However, a case could be made for the departures of both players, as despite being two of the supreme technicians in the squad, Dybala and Cancelo have also arguably been two of the most inconsistent players in the Juventus team last season. It is also no secret that the Bianconeri are after an elite centre-forward, with Sarri clearly unhappy with what he has at his disposal.

Being unhappy with a frontline containing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic shows just how spoiled Sarri is when making his choices. However, with only CR7 certain of his place in the team, Juventus seem to be preparing a revolution in their offensive line.

Higuain has looked like a shadow of the player he was a few years ago, while Dybala has become a tactical misfit under Allegri and it seems that Sarri isn’t convinced of his role in the team either. However, the transfer rumours surrounding Mario Mandzukic have divided the fans.

While clearly not being a ‘Sarri type’ of player, Mandzukic has rarely disappointed when wearing the black and white jersey. The Croat was arguably the only player who managed to raise his game after Ronaldo’s arrival, as the majority of his colleagues in attack struggled.

Mandzukic finished the season as the Bianconeri’s second top scorer with 10 goals and six assists, despite several injuries and being played out of position multiple times. While Dybala scored the same number of goals, the Croat’s work rate and off the ball movement has proved to be instrumental for Juventus in the last few seasons.

It is no coincidence that both Mandzukic and Giorgio Chiellini were unavailable for the second leg against Ajax, as the lack of leadership proved to be fatal for Juve, as the Dutch champions completely outplayed and eventually eliminated Allegri’s team.

In April, the 33-year-old also extended his contract with the Bianconeri until 2021, which showcases just how dramatic the change at the club was after Sarri’s arrival. Unlike Dybala and Higuain, Mandzukic doesn’t command the hefty transfer fees that his Argentinian colleagues would.

Despite this, Mandzukic seems to be on his way out of the club, as Juventus look determined to ship out at least two of the aforementioned trio. While the Bianconeri are heavily linked with Mauro Icardi, the arrival of the ex-Inter captain doesn’t necessarily mean that Mandzukic wouldn’t find space in the team, especially if either of Dybala or Higuain are sold.

The big Croat just offers a different package in comparison to any of his colleagues, as his selfless approach, experience and aerial prowess make him a valuable option in multiple positions. Arguably Mandzukic’s strongest quality is his ability to bring the best out of his teammates, as his movement and know-how often create spaces in the opposition’s backline.

Often willing to sacrifice himself for the common good of the team, the veteran has become a pillar for Juventus in the last couple of seasons. You can regularly see him tracking back to the corner flag to make a tackle, then bombing up the other end to start the attack. He seems to be everywhere.

While the Croat cannot be as instrumental for Sarri’s Juventus as he once was under Max Allegri, his experience and grit would still allow him to be an important part of the team.

In a modern football world where everyone is becoming more and more selfish, it would be safe to say that players like Mandzukic are a dying breed. Considering how hard it is to find natural leaders in the modern game, it would be a huge mistake for the Bianconeri to let go of their big man so easily.

Have your say...
While I agree Mandzukic's mental strength, grit and usefulness is there but this is the right time to sell him when he has some resale value and replace him with Icardi.
I still think Juve could have landed Joao Felix. He would have been a revelation even more than Pogba or Neymar would. But if we get Pogba and Icardi, it will erase the pain of selling cancelo and pursuing Lukaku who is low quality.
on the 12th August, 2019 at 11:26pm
I have lost all hope in this pathetic Management & their stupid signings/sales. Pushing Dybala off away from Juventus, when he loves Juventus and he wants to create a synergy with his talent - he deserves to stay and create a future for us. Cancelo's sale, without doubt, is the worst one for us. His replacement, Danilo, is undoubtedly the worst defender in the world, and I'm personally better than the other backup - De Sciglio. No wonder we are gonna get hurt in the UCL. Nightmare, I say.
on the 11th August, 2019 at 8:54am
Mandzukic was great for juve, but last season after late december he was completely invisible the rest of the season. Who knows how this year will go. I would much rather get rid of higuain.
on the 10th August, 2019 at 11:57pm
If Khedira and Cuadrado end up staying and the big man goes it would an indictment of the club hierarchy. Just when I thought they had redeemed themselves with De Ligt it has been downhill since
on the 10th August, 2019 at 10:45pm
Defenders and free up space for midfielders to run into behind. Yes he didnt score 20 goals but in big games he was our big player.

Thats just the technical stuff. He is constantly organsing and motivating teammates. If you watch training he is positive and coaching young players. Out of interest as he was our worst attacking player ... who apart from maybe ronaldo was better? Dybala he threw the toys out. Cuadrado? Berna maybe in 2 game? Costa... not one of these performed.
on the 10th August, 2019 at 9:21pm
So what? have you actually watched juve? Mario has been one of the most consistent juve performers for years. His move over to left confounded coaches in seriea as it allowed a physical mismatch againt generally smaller right backs. He was a consistant outlet for the team when bonnucci started failing to build from the back.
Can you name me a better header of ball apart from dzeko?
Can you name me a harder workeroff the ball as an offensive player?
His offensive runs to the back post torture
on the 10th August, 2019 at 9:15pm
He is One of a Kind.
But not the One of a Kind that you think.
on the 10th August, 2019 at 9:13pm
Vilizare, Vilizare. So much wrong in this post. Mandzukic is by far the worst Juve attacker. He regressed badly last season and even before that was the worst Juve forward. Did I say he was the worst Juve striker? Good! I will say it 1000 time more because its true.
on the 10th August, 2019 at 7:03pm
He scored vital goals. Better than Higuain and Dybala. Only CR7 had a higher average: 1. CR 7.68, 2. Mario 7.34. Btw, Dybala is 5th - 7.08
on the 10th August, 2019 at 2:50pm

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