According to a report in the Express, Jose Mourinho is interested in bringing Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic to Old Trafford this summer. The striker is valued at £16.2 million by Transfermarkt.
Mandzukic certainly fits the Mourinho profile with his physicality, stature and willingness to graft on behalf of his team.
At 32, the Croatian is experienced at the highest level and has a track record that places him amongst the elite strikers in Europe. With a trophy cabinet to match.
But, Mandzukic is not the marksman Mourinho should be targeting.
Whilst 32 is not necessarily always the very end of the line for top level players in the modern game – as proven by the impact Zlatan had at Old Trafford aged 34 – Mandzukic is certainly on the decline.
A look at his stats on Transfermarkt shows that Mandzukic hasn’t managed to hit double figures in terms of league goals in either of the last two seasons, despite making 30+ appearances in each campaign.
Even if it’s just a case of providing back up for Romelu Lukaku, the Old Trafford crowd will expect a more mobile and prolific arrival.
Leicester City would be loathe to let their star striker leave, but there’s no denying he’d be a fantastic acquisition for Mourinho’s side.
Valued at £18 million by Transfermarkt, Vardy may make a slightly bigger dent in the Old Trafford coffers than Mandzukic, but United would certainly be getting more bang for their buck.
Despite being 31 himself, Vardy has not yet lost his edge in front of goal and remains one of the most clinical finishers in the Premier League.
Unlike Mandzukic, Vardy also offers the kind of pace and mobility that frightens opposition defenders. Mourinho needn’t worry about the England international shirking his share of the dirty work either, as Vardy is only too happy to harry defenders and get stuck in.
If Transfermarkt’s £18 million valuation is accurate, then that price is a steal for a striker of Vardy’s quality and Premier League pedigree.