Mario Mandžukić

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Report: LAFC hot in pursuit of Juventus, Croatia star Mandzukic

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The rich are (reportedly) about to get much richer.

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Los Angeles FC, the team set to claim the MLS Supporters’ Shield by a record margin in the next few weeks, are in “advanced negotiations” with star Juventus and Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic, according to a report from Sky Sport Italia.

Because, if there is a team that needs to add a veteran of two World Cups and two European Championships with 33 career international goals to his name, it is the team that needs 10 more goals (in five games) to break the league’s single-season goals record. Mandzukic retired from the national team shortly after helping Croatia to final of the 2018 World Cup. He scored three goals during the tournament, including one each in the semifinals and final.

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According to the report, Mandzukic, who Juventus desperately tried to sell during the recently completed transfer window, has received a few gaudy offers from clubs in Qatar, but it would appear that the 33-year-old feels he still has more to give in a more competitive league. Mandzukic’s highly productive career has taken him from NK Zagreb and Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia, to Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich in Germany, to Juventus in Italy.

While Mandzukic has not appeared in either of Juve’s two competitive fixtures this season and they would be happy to move his salary off the books tomorrow, MLS’s secondary transfer window recently closed as well, therefore he wouldn’t be able to join LAFC until preseason 2020.

12 months from now, we might be counting down the goals needed for LAFC to break their own record.

Juventus Champions League squad omits Mandzukic, Can

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Juventus released its 22-man squad for the upcoming Champions League group stages, and two names were surprising omissions.

Mario Mandzukic and Emre Can were both left off the squad and will be unable to participate in Champions League matches throughout the group stage. Juventus acquired loads of talent this summer, especially in midfield, and failed to secure adequate departures to balance the squad.

The 33-year-old Mandzukic has been with the club since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2015, and has made 162 appearances for the Italian side, by far the most of any club in his career. His surprising omission comes at the hands of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, with no other outright strikers in the group. Higuain returned to Juventus this summer after loan spells at AC Milan and Chelsea last season, costing Mandzukic his place in the squad.

Still just 25 years old, Emre Can was pushed out of his place in the Juventus midfield by the free transfer signings of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot this summer, with both included in the Champions League squad. Rabiot is slowly being integrated into the Juve squad, while Ramsey is currently shelved while recovering from a hamstring injury suffered back in the spring with Arsenal. Can also signed with Juve on a free the previous summer, and he was a regular starter for the side last season when not injured.

Can, however, has struggled with injuries throughout his career, a possible reason for leaving him off the Champions League roster. The German international has played just 30 minutes of Juve’s first two Serie A matches of the season, coming on as a substitute for the final half-hour of the crazy 4-3 win over Napoli last weekend. Fellow oft-injured midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira made the cut over Can, however, signaling a reckoning for the German.

Giorgio Chiellini was also left off the roster, although that was expected after the veteran defender suffered a torn ACL that will at the very least keep him out until the new year, and could potentially end the 35-year-old’s season. Young defenders Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral both make the list in Chiellini’s absence.

With Mattia Perin injured until at least mid-November, Wojciech Szczesny and Gianluigi Buffon are the main goalkeepers while Carlo Pinsoglio serves as the emergency netminder.

This summer, Juventus brought in a wealth of talent, including Ramsey, Rabiot, Higuain, de Ligt, Demiral, Cristian Romero, Danilo, and Luca Pellegrini. They sold Moise Kean to Everton and Joao Cancelo to Manchester City, but the midfield especially remains far too clogged.

Lukaku, Rojo on way out; Mandzukic update

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Manchester United are still looking to shuffle their pack in the final hours of the window.

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After a $87 million fee was agreed with Inter Milan for Romelu Lukaku to leave Old Trafford, Sky Sports are reporting that the Red Devils are in talks with Everton to sell Marcos Rojo.

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When it comes to Lukaku, he is in Milan for a medical ahead of finalizing the deal as the Belgian striker has wanted to leave United all summer and finally the two clubs have agreed a deal. The 26-year-old will be integral to Antonio Conte‘s new-look attack at Inter and even though he was lambasted by many United fans, he did score 42 goals in 96 appearances over two seasons for United.

As for Rojo, the Argentine defender, 29, only signed a new contract in March 2018. But with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones also signing new deals at the end of last season, plus Harry Maguire arriving for a world-record fee of $103 million earlier this week and Victor Lindelof a mainstay in defense, it is safe to say Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has too many center backs in his squad.

At the other end of the pitch, United were said to be pushing to bring in Mario Mandzukic from Juventus.

The veteran striker, 34, has been a star at Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and now Juve, but the Croatian forward was linked as part of the possible swap deal with Lukaku joining Juve. With Lukaku now heading to Inter, United have gone back to Juve and are keen to add another player to their attacking unit.

One of the latest updates is that Mandzukic may end up staying at Juve as a deal has been revived too late in the window.

Right now they have Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial who can play as central strikers, so having a more experienced head in attack a la Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be very beneficial for these young United forwards to learn from.

Mandzukic reportedly agrees with Man Utd; Everton unveils Kean

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Mario Mandzukic has agreed personal terms with Manchester United, according to Football Italia.

The 33-year-old scored nine times with seven assists in 25 Serie A matches last season, his fourth with The Old Lady.

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He has a contract with Juve through the end of the 2020-21 season, and Football Italia says the deal is not related to any swaps involving Paulo Dybala or Romelu Lukaku.

Mandzukic has scored double-digit goals with Juve, Atletico Madrid, Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich, and Dinamo Zagreb, winning trophies in four countries and helping Croatia to a runner-up finish at the 2018 World Cup.

It would be an odd move as Juventus has sanctioned the sale of young Moise Kean to Everton, and the Premier League club announced his arrival on Sunday.

The Kean deal is a massive coup for the Toffees, even at nearly $30 million and a five-year deal. Kean has been one of the hottest prospects in football for some time, and Juve says the fee is $25 million rising to $27.5.

The 19-year-old is thrice-capped with two goals for Italy, and scored six times while adding an assist in 13 matches for Juventus next season.

The Serie A champions were reported to be offloading the teen because they were unable to get value for Mandzukic or Gonzalo Higuain.

Juve clearly have a forward move in the pipeline, whether Lukaku or someone else.

Matuidi, Mandzukic to join Dybala at Man United?

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Jeez, you might as well rename Manchester as Turin at this point…

Amid reports of Manchester United and Juventus agreeing a mega-swap deal for Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku, another report out of Italy suggests either Mario Mandzukic or Blaise Matuidi could also be heading to Old Trafford too.

Sport Mediaset in Italy says that one of Matuidi or Mandzukic have been discussed as a potential makeweight in any deal.

Which player do United need more?

With the attacking talents they already possess and their philosophy to only have pure pace in the forward areas, surely that rules out a move for Mandzukic. The Croatian striker has been a huge success for many years across Europe with Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and at Juve, but at 33 he is coming towards the end of his career and pace is not one of his top attributes.

Matuidi seems like a better fit for this current United squad, especially if Paul Pogba leaves in the final week of the window.

The French international, 32, has quality on the ball but his energy and defensive capabilities would be ideal in replacing Ander Herrera in the engine room. He also formed a great partnership with Pogba during France’s 2018 World Cup success last summer and he may be key in getting Pogba to remain at United this summer. The jury is still out on Nemanja Matic and Fred as central midfield options, while Scott McTominay has had a very good preseason but is still young. Adding Matuidi as a sweetner in this Dybala-Lukaku swap deal would be very decent for United.

But maybe this is all part of the plan for Juventus to buy Pogba in the next few days, as they send Matuidi and plenty of cash the other way.

Dybala and Matuidi for Pogba and Lukaku doesn’t seem like the best deal for United, but if Juventus chuck in say $70-75 million too, then that would be a deal that is too good to turn down.