Manchester United appear to be a step closer to sealing a January deal for Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic as a result of the four-time Serie A winner dropping wage demands that had previously threatened to derail the proposed transfer.
Mandzukic was initially thought to be close to joining United during the summer in a potential deal that emerged alongside the club’s brief pursuit of Paulo Dybala. He was then thought to be on the verge of leaving Turin for Qatar, but nothing materialised.
The 33-year-old now finds himself marginalised at Juve after being left out so far this season and not even named in the club’s 25-man Champions League squad. Yet he could provide much needed relief in Manchester where attacking options have been limited.
The Sun alleges that Mandzukic has ‘slashed’ his previous £300,000-per-week wage demands, cutting them in half to now ask for £150,000 instead.
The tabloid newspaper quotes a source saying, “His reps have been in contact and are willing to change their demands. There will be other bonuses factored into the deal. It looks like one that could get done now.”
The source adds that United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has ‘long been an admirer’, while claiming that the club as a whole have ‘wanted him for a number of years’.
Mandzukic, who has also won multiple league titles in Croatia and Germany, would certainly bring vast experience to the dressing room at Old Trafford. Last year, he played and scored in the World Cup final for Croatia, having scored the extra-time semi-final winner against England.
Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici has already confirmed that the Italian giants are willing to sell Mandzukic when the January transfer window opens.
“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,” Paratici explained earlier this month.
As for the cost involved, there was recent gossip that United had agreed a £9m deal and offered the player an 18-month contract worth around £4.4m per season.
If Mandzukic was really was initially demanding £300,000-per-week, as The Sun claimed, that would actually be a huge pay rise and comes across as rather cheeky. Even half that weekly wage, which is what he has now supposedly dropped his demands to, would still represent a sizeable increase on what he currently earns at Juventus.
Serie A salaries are published annually and Mandzukic’s Juve contract is worth the equivalent of just over £100,000-per-week, which is enough to make him one of the highest earners in Italy, where wages are generally much lower than what many Premier League clubs pay their players.
The rumoured £4.4m contract offer from United breaks down to £85,000-per-week.
It is worth noting that ESPN reported a little over a week ago that Mandzukic would need to drop his wage demands for a move to Old Trafford to go ahead.