Mario Mandzukic has completed a transfer from Juventus to Qatari club Al-Duhail, ending any chance of the striker joining Manchester United.
Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri had dropped Mandzukic from the first-team squad in recent months, which made a January transfer away from the Italian champions inevitable.
How close did Man Utd come to signing Mandzukic? Five things to know…
- Manchester United were linked with striker in the summer after selling Romelu Lukaku.
- Mandzukic and Fernando Llorente were mentioned as possible targets for the Red Devils.
- Nobody arrived and Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer has put faith in Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
- Speculation about Mandzukic was revived ahead of the January transfer window.
- But the Croatian has now signed for Al-Duhail, suggesting Manchester United did not push for a deal.
Manchester United were heavily linked with Mandzukic in the summer when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appeared to be chasing a replacement for Romelu Lukaku, who left Old Trafford for Inter Milan.
Mandzukic ended up staying put but hasn’t played a single minute of first-team football this season, failing to even make the bench in a Serie A game since September.
Despite ongoing speculation about possible interest from Manchester United, the Croatian has now signed for Al-Duhail.
The Qatari league leaders, who are managed by Jose Mourinho’s former assistant Rui Faria, announced Mandzukic’s arrival on Christmas Eve.
— نادي الدحيل الرياضي (@DuhailSC) December 24, 2019
Al-Duhail wrote on their website: “The team’s management succeeded today in signing the Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic of Juventus in a free transfer deal after the end of his contract with his Italian team.
“The player will begin his journey with the team in the second half of the league campaign.”
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Has the Premier League missed out on Mandzukic?
Manchester United’s continuing struggles suggest they are still in need of an experienced striker, but it appears Premier League clubs have now missed their chance to lure Mandzukic to these shores.
The 33-year-old isn’t getting any younger and it now seems unlikely he will return to one of Europe’s major leagues before retirement.
That’s despite the fact several teams in England’s top tier, including Tottenham and Chelsea, could also do with a goalscoring veteran of Mandzukic’s ilk to provide cover for Harry Kane and Tammy Abraham respectively.
Chelsea, in particular, may be on the lookout for a striker if Olivier Giroud leaves the club in January.