For a sum of €15 million, Juventus have officially announced the purchase of Montenegrin International – Mirko Vucinic. The former Roma man signed on the dotted line on a four-yeal deal worth €3.5 million per year and in the bargain, he becomes the first ever player from Montenegro to play for Juventus. After rigorously chasing Sergio Aguero and Giuseppe Rossi, the Bianconeri ended up with Vucinic; a somewhat disappointing result for the Juve tifosi.
Mirko Vucinic emerged from the Sutjeska Nikšić youth team in Montenegro. At just 18 years of age, he made the leap to Serie A and to Lecce. After a few subdued seasons, his breakthrough season came in 2004-2005. Vucinic impressed a lot of clubs in Serie A after he hit the back of the net an impressive 19 times in 28 games. This would eventually turn out to be his most successful season in the peninsula and indeed his career. He decided to stay on for a year at Lecce. The following season, though, wasn’t his best as he scored a measly 9 goals in 31 games for the Salentini.
In the summer of 2006, Vucinic would join the other, more popular Giallorossi – Roma. It was his performances for Roma against the bigger clubs that would endear him to the Gialorossi faithful including memorable strikes against Manchester United, AC Milan and Chelsea. He would also help the Giallorossi to two successive Coppa Italias. Vucinic would go on to score 46 goals in 147 games. The previous season though was underwhelming by his standards. In fairness to him, Roma were not in the best shape last season and a lot of the big players struggled for form.
On the International front, Vucinic chose to represent Montenegro. At the youth level, while playing for the then Serbia and Montenegro, Vucinic famously combined well with Milos Krasic to score three goals against Croatia.
Vucinic is one of the most talented attackers in Serie A and, on his day, is capable of producing something out of nothing. He’s versatile and can play as a left winger or as a second striker in support of a prima punta. Not the quickest of forwards, Vucinic is a very tricky player in possession and an under-rated ability of his, is his heading prowess. At 6ft 1in, Vucinic is more than a handful with his head and can form a threat from set-pieces and crosses and can make a nuisance of himself. His forte, though, is his knack for showing up at big games. His ability to rise up to the occasion made him a fan favorite at Roma. A lot like Juve last season, Vucinic is at his best when he faces the traditionally bigger sides and does possess the ‘big-game mentality’ that managers crave.
The Montenegrin International’s biggest, and fairly dangerous, drawback is his lack of consistency. While he is renowned for his ability to perform well against the top sides, he is in equal measure disappointing against the less-fancied outfits. Vucinic can go unnoticed against the smaller sides and cuts a frustrated figure at times. He’s also infamously known for his uncanny ability to miss sitters. Those ‘it was easier to score moments’ have left fans pulling their hair out in agony. He’s also criticized for his work-rate or rather the lack of it, especially when not in possession of the ball.
Possible Impact at Juventus
Due to his versatility, manager Antonio Conte has a couple of options with regard to Vucinic’s position. As mentioned above, he’s comfortable playing as a second striker or as a left winger. If indeed Juve do fail to sign a left winger, it’s likely that he will be deployed on the left flank in a 4-2-4 formation. It looks inevitable, though, that his future for the Bianconeri lies as a supporting striker just behind Alessandro Matri. In all likelihood, he should get the nod over Fabio Quagliarella in a 4-2-4.
The former Roma man has also claimed that he’s at the complete disposal of Antonio Conte and will gladly play in any position the manager chooses to employ him in. While at Roma, he did spend most of his time playing as a left winger in a 4-2-3-1 formation that played to his strengths. Like many modern wide players, Vucinic isn’t your traditional orthodox winger but one that likes to cut in from the left and take a shot on goal emphasizing his reliance on his right foot and lack of confidence with his left foot. If Antonio Conte does opt for a 4-3-3 formation, Vucinic will find himself on the left of the attacking trio should Juve fail to capture a left winger like Fiorentina’s Vargas or Lyon’s Bastos.
TheHardTackle’s Final Verdict
When on song, Vucinic is a very dangerous player who can cause plenty of harm and mayhem to opposition defences. However, when he is not, he can cause much harm to his own team and end up being a major liability. At 27, Vucinic should be at the peak of his powers. With a sum of €15 million, his signing isn’t particularly a bad piece of business by Marotta per se but it’s disappointing to end up with Vucinic when it looked all but certain that Juve would land Rossi. One thing remains certain though that Juve fans won’t have patience with Vucinic and he is expected to deliver the moment he puts on the famous black and white jersey.
Rating – 6.5/10