Analysis: after World Cup heroics, what next for Mario Mandzukic?

mandzukic, croazia, urlo, festa, inghilterra, 2018
12 July at 18:40
Yesterday evening, Mario Mandzukic broke the hearts of England fans when he scored an extra-time winner to send Croatia through to the World Cup final. The Juventus forward, at 32 years of age, is reaching the latter stages of his career – but is still a target of some big clubs, with the likes of Besiktas and Manchester United both interested.
After his winner last night, interest might hot up in the Croatian striker – and, with the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus, he may struggle for game-time if he remains in Turin. Read on and discover the options that Mandzukic has – and which will be the best for his career and his future.
The first option is for Mario Mandzukic to remain at Juventus. With the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, however, Mandzukic would likely have to settle for far less game-time than he is used to; whilst, having netted just five goals in 32 Serie A games in the 17/18 season, he has clearly lost his touch at club level.
He has been forced out on the left for Juventus, against his wishes; with his desire to play as a centre-forward. Juventus wish to keep him at the club, especially with the reported departure of Gonzalo Higuain. However, he may wish to take a first team spot elsewhere; rather than warming the bench in Turin.
Manchester United
Jose Mourinho is said to be a fan of Mario Mandzukic and, earlier this summer, reports indicated that Manchester United were set to make a move for the Croatian forward. Valued at around €20 million according to TransferMarkt, United still might be able to tempt Juventus with a bid.
However, Mandzukic might have to settle for warming the bench in Manchester too; with Romelu Lukaku showing glimpses of brilliance at the World Cup; and definitely a top prospect for the future. Mandzukic would be a great foil for Lukaku, yet after his performance against England, the Croat may not get the warmest of welcomes should he move to Manchester.
Other Options
As aforementioned, Besiktas have also registered an interest in the forward this summer. Although this may be considered a step backwards, it could be in Mandzukic’s best interests. Not only would he be able to join up with compatriot Domagoj Vida, but would be nearly guaranteed first team football each and every week; combining with the likes of Ricardo Quaresma to form a devastating attack. A unique challenge, Besiktas would also see Mandzukic play alongside former Real Madrid defender Pepe, as well as a host of younger players with huge potential.
Whatever happens, Mandzukic will surely have turned heads after his performances at the World Cup so far; and even more eyes will be caught after the final on Sunday if he can guide his team to victory over France. Whether he is to remain at Juventus, or take on a new challenge? Only time will tell.
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