With Carlos Tevez already identified as Atletico Madrid’s top transfer target this summer, Juventus, in a bit of football symmetry, have named Atleti striker Mario Mandzukic as the man they would replace the Argentine with. Mandzukic, who had a good but not great season with Atletico, is one of the players the club is reportedly looking to move on this summer.
After falling from last season’s dizzying heights of winning La Liga and making it to the Champions League final, to finish third this season, Diego Simeone is looking to rebuild an Atleti attack that suffered in the wake of Diego Costa’s departure to Chelsea.
While Mandzukic contributed a respectable 12 goals and five assists in the league this season, it was Antoine Griezmann who emerged as Atleti’s real attacking star. The Frenchman scored 22 goals in La Liga finishing third in the league behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. If Atletico are to once again mount a serious challenge to the Barcelona/Real Madrid hegemony, they will need a more prolific striker to play opposite Griezmann.
With Simeone apparently willing to let Mandzukic go, reports coming out of Italy have it that Juve is close to reaching an agreement with the player and his agent. Although apparently Mandzukic was not manager Massimiliano Allegri’s first choice. The club was apparently rebuffed in attempts to sign Edinson Cavani from PSG and Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli.
Were Mandzukic to arrive at Juve it would pave the way for the departure of Tevez, who is currently on duty with Argentina in the Copa America. Tevez’s hard-driving, physically robust style would seem tailor-made for Simeone’s brand of football. However it’s understood that the La Liga outfit face competition from Boca Juniors, the Argentine team where Tevez began his career and wants to finish it.
It may come down to whether or not Tevez wants to roll the dice on one final adventure with a new team in one of the few remaining major European leagues the 31-year-old has yet to play in.
Atletico in the meantime, are also expected to sign striker Luciano Vietto from Villarreal while looking to see off interest in Griezmann from the likes of Chelsea. Simeone is also reportedly looking to bring Filipe Luis back to the club after the Brazilian season endured an indifferent season at Chelsea.
In addition to Mandzukic, players who could be moved on include midfielder Mario Suarez, defender Miranda, striker Raul Jimenez, and Toby Alderwerield, who may move to Southampton permanently after a successful loan spell at the Premier League outfit.