Scouting Mirko Vucinic: Rumoured Manchester United Transfer Target

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Scouting Mirko Vucinic: Rumoured Manchester United Transfer Target
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic.

Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic appears to have been on Manchester United’s radar for some time.

But why is the forward, who is as famous for his unique goal celebrations as he is for scoring, attracting interest from the Old Trafford side?

Reports linking the Montenegro international with the Premier League champions date back to 2009.

According to this article on Goal.com, United were first interested in signing Vucinic when Cristiano Ronaldo was leaving the club. 

A 2011 article on ESPNfc.com also claimed that United were “very close” to signing Vucinic, but the player ended up signing for Juventus instead.

The 29-year-old began his Italian career with Lecce, who he signed for in 2000, after impressing for his local Montenegro side FK Sutjeska Niksic.

The young striker broke through into the Lecce first team, his best season coming in 2004/05, when he scored 19 goals in 28 Serie A games.

In 2006/07, Vucinic joined AS Roma on loan and by summer 2008 the club snapped him up for €12 million, as reported here on FIFA.com.

Vucinic spent three more seasons in the Italian capital, where he scored a total of 64 goals in 200 appearances for the club in all competitions.

The striker scored his first UEFA Champions League goal against Manchester United in Roma’s 2-1 home win in April 2007. He also found the back of the net twice when playing Chelsea in 2008.

Michael Steele/Getty Images
Vucinic scores his first Champions League goal in April 2007, against Manchester United.

In 2011, he moved to Juventus—signing up alongside other big-name arrivals: Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Stephan Lichsteiner and Reto Ziegler, as seen here on FIFA.com

Vucinic has won back-to-back Serie A titles with the Turin side and can also boast of being unbeaten in the league in 2011/12. Juve’s No. 9 also added the Italian Supercup to his collection in 2012.

But, in a season where the Old Lady’s two top scorers have registered just 10 goals apiece (Arturo Vidal and Vucinic), there has been inevitable talk of an influx of new strikers over the summer.

Paul Collins, of the Daily Mail, reports here how Fernando Llorente has agreed a deal to sign for the club when the transfer window officially opens on July 1.

And there is continuing speculation about Gonzalo Higuain signing for Juventus from current employers Real Madrid, as reported by Shaun Custis in The Sun

The Independent also claimed this week that Juventus are interested in securing Carlos Tevez’s services, according to the report by James Olley.

And earlier this year, Vucinic started to be linked with a move away from the Juventus Stadium once more. Charles Perrin, of the Express, claiming in February that United were interested in signing the Montenegrin again.

More recently, according to the talkSPORT website, the 29-year-old is said to have two Premier League suitors in the shape of both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

According to Transfermarkt, Vucinic is valued at €21.5 million and has two years remaining on his current contract.

But what would United get for their money were he to move to Old Trafford?

Vucinic, in a word, is versatile. He can play as an out-and-out striker and, while never prolific in front of goal, he can score spectacular strikes with his preferred right foot. 

He may not weigh in with 20-plus goals a season, but Vucinic's contribution to the team cannot be underestimated. He creates plenty of opportunities for his side and his skillset, which includes dribbling, playing through-balls and the ability to play on the wing, where he likes to cut inside on the right, makes him a superb playmaker.

It’s these assets that could make it difficult for Juventus to part ways with the striker, who could be just as dangerous playing in midfield, or in the hole, were two new strikers to take his spot in Antonio Conte’s side.

However, if Vucinic feels his place in the lineup is seriously under threat, a big move to the Premier League could prove irresistible for a player who is about to enter his 30s.

Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
Mirko Vucinic and THAT goal celebration.

Vucinic is certainly not a newcomer to the English press. He’s known for a distinctive celebration that makes headlines wherever he has played. With Roma, Juventus and the Montenegro national side, he has been known to take his shorts off when celebrating a goal.

As seen here in an article in the Guardian and in Max Benson’s article in The Sun.

Whether Vucinic could bring anything new to Manchester United is up for debate—voted Montenegrin Player of the Year six times and with a solid track record and experience in European competition, he could turn out to be a good buy at the right price.

However, another striker is probably not at the top of David Moyes’ shopping list, especially one who, at 29, is the same age as Robin van Persie and may struggle to adapt to the rigors of the Premier League.

Whatever happens, be it a stay at the Juventus Stadium or a move elsewhere, it will be interesting to monitor Vucinic’s career (and his celebrations) next season.

Watch this space for news about Vucinic and rumours linking him to the Premier League.

 

All records and statistics sourced on Transfermarkt and UEFA.com.

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