ESPN pundit Shaka Hislop believes Mario Mandzukic would prove a quality signing for Manchester United this winter. The former Croatia international was heavily touted to join the Red Devils last summer but a deal did not materialise before the deadline after the Bianconeri were reluctant to reduce their £14m asking price.
Mandzukic has since failed to earn a single minute of playing time with the Bianconeri and it is quite clear that he would be offloaded when the transfer window reopens. Speaking on ESPN FC, Hislop said that Mandzukic may prove a quality stopgap option for the Red Devils upfront but believes Marcus Rashford will be the ideal candidate for the long-term.
He told: “I think Mandzukic, who can play as an out-and-out striker which we’ve seen in years gone by, particularly at Bayern Munich, and then at Juventus was happy to play that foil for Cristiano Ronaldo as well. I like the prospect because I still feel that if you see Marcus Rashford as your long term centre-forward, and he can drift out wide to very good affect as well, it makes sense.”
United made the decision to part ways with both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez (on loan) to Inter during the summer transfer window and they have just Anthony Martial and Rashford as the senior striker options with the young Mason Greenwood acting as the back-up. That has not quite worked out with Martial sidelined with an injury since the end of August while Rashford has struggled for form with just three goals across all competitions.
Greenwood has made a bright impression with a couple of goals in the Cup competitions but Solskjaer has yet to trust the youngster with a league start this term. As such, it makes it worthwhile to pursue a new centre-forward at the turn of the year and Mandzukic could prove an ideal purchase as he can act as the target man with his physical presence. The Croatian could be available for a lesser fee of £9m.