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Mario Mandzukic Reportedly Could Join Paulo Dybala at Manchester United

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2019

TURIN, ITALY - MARCH 08: Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic of Juventus looks on during the warm-up before the Serie A match between Juventus and Udinese at Allianz Stadium on March 08, 2019 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)
Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Manchester United have reportedly discussed the prospect of including Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic alongside his current team-mate Paulo Dybala in a deal that'd see Romelu Lukaku leave Old Trafford for the Italian champions. 

Speculation has gathered pace ahead of the closing of the transfer window regarding a possible exchange involving Lukaku and Dybala. According to Sky Sports News, the Argentina international isn't the only Bianconeri forward on United's radar, with the Premier League side said to have asked about the Croatian's availability.

In the piece, it's noted Dybala "is yet to agree personal terms with United, with Mandzukic now considered as an alternative option."

According to Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Sport, "in the context of the Dybala-Lukaku swap, United could also obtain Mandzukic from Juventus."

For the Red Devils, it's poised to be a busy end to the window. BBC Sport reported on Friday that they'd agreed an £80 million fee with Leicester City for the signing of Harry Maguire, an amount that'd be a world record for a defender if it eventually goes through.

While manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to bolster the team's options in defence, there's a chance he will have a revamped forward line to work with in the 2019-20 term too, with Mandzukic a new name associated with the club.

Football journalist Jonas Giaever summed up what kind of player United would be getting if they landed the 33-year-old:

Jonas Giæver @CheGiaevara

Looking at just pure defensive duels, this is where Mandzukic shows off with 3.42 on average pr game (18/19-season) (65.1%). Lukaku won 1.64 defensive duels (58,8%) while Rashford won 2.53 pr game (45.8%). Mandzukic is the first line of defense. (Numbers according to Wyscout) https://t.co/Kje6T1O4v7

Although Mandzukic isn't the most prolific of centre-forwards, he has been a crucial part of what has been a well functioning Juventus attack in recent seasons.

For his coach, he's been an ideal option. Not only does Mandzukic lead from the front with his physicality and pressing, but he's also been deployed in a number of different positions; the Croatian can be a battering ram up top, but has also bullied opposition full-backs with his physique when used in wide positions.

Of the two players linked with United in regards to a swap deal, Dybala is undoubtedly the more glamorous name and has greater long-term potential. Since his arrival at Juventus, he's comfortably been the most productive player in terms of goals and assists:

OptaPaolo @OptaPaolo

78 - In his period in Turin (since 2015/16), Paulo #Dybala is the player to have scored the most goals for Juventus in all competitions: 78, at least 23 more than any other. Joya. https://t.co/1AJJxQhBvF

Annie Eaves of Sport Witness thinks it's crucial the Red Devils find a way to get Lukaku out the door:

Annie Eaves @AnnieEaves

Really hope chasing after Dybala doesn’t leave United in an end of window mess. With an unhappy Lukaku, and having left other business too late.

There were signs last term that United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to operate with a fluid front three, a system which Dybala would suit. However, if the Norwegian wants the Red Devils to be aggressive off the ball, Mandzukic would be ideal to have in the front line.

Regardless, it appears those who frequent Old Trafford can expect a fascinating final few days in the transfer window.