After being frozen out since the summer, Mario Mandzukic has greenlit the move away from Juventus and officially joined Qatari team Al Duhail, where he will reunite with former teammate Medhi Benatia. He has not practiced with the rest of the group since August, when a proposed move to Manchester United fell through and the management decided to rely on Gonzalo Higuain over him with Maurizio Sarri at the helm. The Bianconeri will reportedly receive a €5.5M compensation from the sale and clear the books from a significant salary, as he was set to be under contract till 2022 following an extension penned in March. Continue reading
With just under a month to go until the transfer window opens up for its mid-season appearance, Manchester United will be active in bringing in new faces to Old Trafford.
The season has, so far, not gone to plan, as they currently languish in 11th place, a point behind Crystal Palace and eight from fourth-place Chelsea. Hopes and aspirations of a Champions League position come May 2020 now appear far away with the season ticking on.
A priority position to strengthen for Ole Gunnar Solskjær will be his midfield, which looks feeble and weak when coming up against teams that have quick transitions. The absence of Paul Pogba since the end of September has not eased matters, but even so, the failure to replace both Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera has been detrimental.
Ideally, the Red Devils want and need a player like Leicester City’s James Maddison. But for all intents and purposes, the Foxes are not going to be easy negotiators, especially halfway through the season when they are in second and the possibility of top-tier European football is more than realistic.
All season, Man United have lacked a midfielder that can pick defences and thread cute passes in between the lines. Fred and Andreas Pereira having taken up the more advanced roles in midfield, but neither have had the success on a regular basis that is needed to threaten teams week in, week out.
There are a lack of world-class midfielders that would want to come to Old Trafford for anything but a pay cheque, and so the market that is accessible for the Red Devils becomes increasingly small.
Emre Can is a name that has been touted around the Premier League once more ahead of January due to his lack of minutes under Maurizio Sarri at Juventus, but there will, rightly, be some reservations over the German international’s potential arrival, mainly due to being a stop-gap filler as well as a player who has been registered with Liverpool.
It is known that Solskjær wants an experienced centre forward that can hold play up and be versatile in his positioning on the pitch. The Red Devils tried to secure a late deal for Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic but ran out of time in the end. Their interest remains in the Croatian, even if, like his team-mate Can, his minutes have been shelved.
Mandzukic would offer a more rounded approach to the club than Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, as well as giving them invaluable advice on and off the pitch. Mandzukic is an extremely hard-working individual that has thrived off the bigger moments: such as his performance for his country against England in the World Cup semi-final.
The centre forward has 18 months left on his contract, but the Bianconeri will do business on him for around £10 million. He might be 33-years-old, but the wealth of experience and positional flexibility he could bring would be a welcome sight.
A lot can change in football in the second half of the season, but one thing is for certain and that is Manchester United need reinforcements.
How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.
Today was awards’ night both both on the European stage and in Italy: Cristiano Ronaldo came in third as far as the Balloon d’Or was concerned, while Matthijs De Ligt was 15th and won the Kopa trophy as best U-21. Domestically, Cristiano Ronaldo was elected the Serie A’s MVP for last season and, like Miralem Pjanic, Giorgio Chiellini and Joao Cancelo was voted into the team of the year.
Juventus’ chief football officer Fabio Paratici weighed in on the current affairs during the soiree: “In previous seasons, we have been even in fourth position at this point of the year and then we managed to come back. We are only in December, we are doing well and collected a lot of points, while Inter have done super well.” Continue reading
Coach Maurizio Sarri gave some hints about the lineup and updated on the status of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic in the presser before the SPAL game.
On the hole at left back: “I saw that the executive Federico Cherubini is left-footed, I will try him there too. I do not consider the three-man defence an option if not for small chunks of games because we would end up defending with five and therefore track back too much. It also does not eliminate the fact that we have to put somebody on the left flank, we have some problems on the wings right now. We tried a solution yesterday, we will go through another one today and we will see.” Continue reading
Coach Maurizio Sarri rejoiced returning on the bench after battling pneumonia and dished out honest assessments about few players in the pre-game conference ahead of the game against Fiorentina.
“For a coach, being on the bench and participating to the practices it is everything. It is not easy to step aside, I thank our doctors that took care of me for 20 days and made me realize it was better to take a short pause in that moment rather than risking being out for longer at a later date. It was heavy but I accepted since the staff was working swimmingly.” Continue reading
Juventus communicated their UEFA list yesterday and since there is only one club-trained player in the roster this year, somebody had to be excluded and the choices fell on Mario Mandzukic, who is the third choice as centre-forward, and Emre Can who, despite playing a good chunk of the Napoli game, must have fallen behind all the other midfielders in the projected depth chart. Joining them are long-term injured players Mattia Perin, Marko Pjaca and Giorgio Chiellini. Continue reading
After securing the signing of Matthijs de Ligt, many lauded Juventus’ mercato and showered their sporting director, Fabio Paratici, with praise. After all, they had just signed one of Europe’s elite young defenders, fighting off Barcelona and a host of other clubs in the process.
However, in recent weeks, in an effort to balance the books, Juventus have looked to offload their high-prized assets on the cheap. First, Moise Kean left for Everton with no buy-back clause inserted in the deal. Then, Joao Cancelo was off to Manchester City for 30 million euros and Danilo, after just a season in Turin. Now, the bianconeri’s top brass are actively listening to offers for their jewel, Paulo Dybala.
With Financial Fair Play restrictions in place, clubs, at the very least, must show they are spending as much as they’re making; generally speaking. Following the signature of Cristiano Ronaldo and de Ligt, sales were always going to be necessary.
Factor in that Juventus haven’t progressed deep into the Champions League since making the final in 2017 missing out on crucial revenue, it’s clear players were going to be sold. Let’s not forget, the Turin-based giants also reported a significant financial operating loss in their last fiscal year. Fabio Paratici is the man largely responsible with dealing with this, largely through high-profile sales.
While, in an ideal world, Paratici would find buyers for Gonzalo Higuain, Mario Mandzukic, Sami Khedira and Blaise Matuidi among others, reality is a different beast altogether. Currently, all of these players are on the wrong side of 30 and are on massive wages in comparison to their output.
Many of them have got a host of offers, but have regularly refused to leave the club. And why should they? Most, if not all, of the offers received for the bianconeri’s wantaways include lower salaries at less prestigious clubs. This has forced Paratici’s hand in his first mercato at the helm and has dictated which players he can and cannot sell. Simply put, there’s a bigger buying market for Dybala than there is for Higuain, for example.
Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri recently alluded to this in a press conference.
“As I said before, I can talk to Dybala all I like, but the market goes in a certain direction and my opinion counts for zero. We have to cut six players, that’s all there is to it,” said the former Napoli boss, as reported by Football Italia.
When thinking about Sarriball, you would expect Dybala to be one of the first names of the team-sheet. After a season in Massimiliano Allegri’s rigid setup, the Argentine could explode in a false-nine role. In Sarri’s first press conference at the club, the veteran tactician mentioned La Joya alongside Douglas Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo as players he was hoping to count on.
If Juventus are forced to sell Dybala this summer to balance the books, they will undoubtedly regret their decisions to hand Mandzukic and Khedira extensions while failing to definitively offload Higuain. Quite frankly, neither of these three players fit into Sarri’s tactics as well as Dybala does.
Sarri elaborated on this situation further and lashed out against Juventus’ current state.
“It puts me in a difficult position. The last 20 days of the market will be difficult for us, it’s an embarrassing situation, because we risk having to leave out players of a very high level,” said Sarri.
It has also affected his pre-season preparation. Given the uncertainty surrounding the transfer window, Sarri has largely rotated between Higuain, Mandzukic and Dybala. Rather than sticking with one preferred front-line and implementing his mechanisms with them, Sarri has been forced to adapt. As a result, it may be long before we see Sarriball fully introduced in Turin.
With just over two weeks left to the mercato, it will be interesting to see who Juventus decide to move. Reports suggest Higuain will join Roma while Mandzukic favours a Bundesliga move. However, as we’ve seen, there are no guarantees and we can just as easily see, fan favourite, Dybala on his way out. Whether you like it or not, buckle your seat-belts Juventus fans, you’re in for a bumpy end to the summer transfer window.
Do you have what it takes to challenge the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? If you’re up for it play seriea-fantasy.com now!
Juventus main official Fabio Paratici talked to Sky Sport after the usual intra-squad friendly at Villar Perosa: “There are a lot of talks in these days of negotiations, but then not a lot of business really gets made. We are serene and confident. It is a great day to be here with our people, this is the Juventus equivalent of Christmas.”
On some players potentially on their way out: “The Champions League list has precise parameters and neither the coach or I can change that. We have just one local player this year compared to the previous ones, so we will have to let somebody go to have a 22-man squad. Marko Pjaca and Mattia Perin are unlikely to leave because of their long-term injuries, while Luca Pellegrini is headed to Cagliari.” Continue reading
After addressing the midfield and the centre-back positions in the first month of the transfer market, Juventus management will now shift focus to untangling the logjam in the attack. Coach Maurizio Sarri has carried on with 4-3-3 and, with Cristiano Ronaldo pegged as left winger, there are four men who can play as centre-forward on the roster. So inevitably at least one of the centre-forwards will have to head elsewhere.
Paulo Dybala talked to the journalist at an Adidas event yesterday, backtracking from his brother recent remark’s about being unhappy at Juventus: “He speaks for himself. I have discussed with Fabio Paratici, he knows that I want to continue playing with Juventus. Then it is not up to me, the management will make his choices based on the new coach’s ideas, but I want to stay.”
On the new coach: “I believe even the executives do not even know yet, I hope he will be a great one in order to win everything. That is the most important thing, then the fans want to see good football and few managers are capable in that area. We have thanked and greeted Massimiliano Allegri, we are very grateful for what he has done.” Continue reading