Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici has confirmed that the Serie A champions are open to selling out-of-favour forward Mario Mandzukic in January, amid ongoing speculation that the Croatian is of serious interest to Manchester United.
A deal for Mandzukic to head to Old Trafford alongside Paulo Dybala fell through in the summer when United pulled the plug on the latter. However, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad thin on attacking options after letting Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez go, there looks to be a need for reinforcements.
Gossip about a January approach for Mandzukic has been building this week, with the 33-year-old a much more attainable target at the midway stage of the season than the alternatively linked likes of Jadon Sancho, James Maddison or even Moussa Dembele.
The 2018 World Cup finalist was surprisingly left out of Juventus’ Champions League squad this season and is yet to play a single minute in any competition. He had been expected to seal a move to Qatar after the European transfer window closed, only to see it fall through.
Paratici has now left the door open for an exit when the window re-opens in the new year.
“We decided to give him a moment of peace because there was the chance he would be moving to Qatar, which then did not materialise. Now, we will decide together what the best solution will be in January,” the Juve official told AS.
Earlier this week, Goal claimed that United have agreed a £9m deal with the Italian champions for Mandzukic, one that would see the player sign an 18-month contract in Manchester until the summer of 2021 and pocket an annual wage of £4.4m – around £85,000-per-week.
ESPN also noted January interest in Mandzukic, but conversely claimed the player would have to drop his wage demand in order to secure the transfer.
With Serie A wages published annually, it was revealed last month that Mandzukic currently earns the equivalent of £5.4m each season in Turin, breaking down to a little over £103,000 weekly. Therefore, the £4.4m deal alleged by Goal is already a significant reduction.
Somewhat remarkably, Mandzukic is one of the best-paid players in Serie A, where wages are typically much lower and far more restrained than in the Premier League. Only eight other players in the league, seven of whom are his Juve teammates, are paid more annually.