Manchester United have reportedly ended their pursuit of Croatian international Mario Mandzukic in the final hours of deadline day.
According to a report by Sky Sports, Manchester United have ceded their interest in Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic. The Premier League heavyweights were eyeing the Croatian international as a possible replacement for Romelu Lukaku, who is set to join Inter Milan this week.
Mandzukic has been a key player for Juventus since joining them from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2015. Over the last four years, the veteran striker has been a key component for the Bianconeri in their dominance of the domestic football in Italy while also playing an important role in Croatia’s run to the 2018 World Cup final.
Heading into this summer’s transfer window though, Mandzukic seemed to be facing an uncertain future at the Allianz Stadium, with the Serie A champions being linked with Romelu Lukaku and Mauro Icardi. As a result, interest from Manchester United surfaced, especially with Lukaku set to leave Old Trafford.
The initial reports came in the wake of claims about a shock swap deal involving Lukaku and Paulo Dybala, with Manchester United also reportedly initiating talks with the 33-year-old. With Lukaku being primed to call it quits at the club, Mandzukic could have been the ideal player to be a short-term replacement for the Belgian.
But, the links with the player went cold just as the swap deal collapsed. Heading into the final hours of the British transfer windows, however, the rumours resurfaced. Mandzukic’s presence in the dressing room would have helped Mason Greenwood grow into his role within the Manchester United first-team setup.
Add to it the Croatian international’s work-rate and technical prowess, which made him an ideal fit in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s system. But, while a move for Mandzukic looked to be close to happening earlier, Manchester United have now called off their pursuit of the experienced striker.
While Sky Sports have not mentioned the reasoning for United’s change in stance, there are suggestions that they ceded their interest in the 33-year-old due to their inability to agree a fee for him.
With Lukaku now expected to join Inter Milan, Manchester United are at risk of being left short changed in attacking options. Effectively, Mason Greenwood is now likely to take Lukaku’s place, with a move for Croatian international Mandzukic now off.