Okay, fine, we’ll discuss these Mario Mandžukic rumors. The 34-year-old Croatian just terminated his contract with Qatari outfit Al-Duhail after 8 appearances and 2 goals, but he’s not retiring; he’s looking for a return to Europe. Benevento (who are trying to build the world’s best FIFA 13 team, having snapped up Loïc Remy last week) has been linked as a possible landing pad, as has Fiorentina.
Because my articles listing reasons why transfers will or won’t happen tend to be perfectly spot on, I’m going to do another one for Mandžukic. I’ll start with the reasons he’d be a good fit and finish with the reasons Daniele Pradè should bolt the other direction.
The Yes Column
Even at 34, nobody doubts Mandžukic’s drive or commitment: the man has always played like he’s trying to avenge his parents’ murder. Combined with his well-known leadership on the pitch and in the dressing room, he’d doubtless stamp out the frustrated, me-first attitude that seems to be cropping up among some of the Viola attackers and instill a hungrier mentality.
Even at 34, his fitness is still probably enough to keep him sprinting in the 97th minute, so there’s no immediate concern there. His famous aerial ability, combined with his work rate off the ball, would also help this attack immensely, as Mandžukic would create space for others with his running and be a fantastic target for crosses from the likes of Franck Ribery and Dalbert. He’d also be an excellent option to win knockdowns for guys like Federico Chiesa and Gaetano Castrovilli running off him.
And speaking of Ribery, he and Mandžukic go way back, having spent two seasons together at Bayern Munich. While the reports of the Frenchman’s desire to leave Florence were obviously exaggerated (thanks, Sebastien Frey), bringing another familiar face, even one as threatening as Super Mario’s, can only help settle him in further.