Who are Juve tracking to complete their attack?

Posted by Mina Rzouki

Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty ImagesBayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic has been linked with a move to Serie A champions Juventus.

Sunday rest is in order for Juventus and the team won't resume training until Tuesday. The good news is that the likes of Mirko Vucinic and Stephan Lichtsteiner are one step closer to coming back to the team. The bad news is that we still don't know how long Simone Pepe will continue to be out for this season.

- Report: Napoli president laughs off chants

Against Livorno in the upcoming Serie A clash next Sunday, the Old Lady is experiencing an emergency situation with regards to the back-line. Both Angelo Ogbonna and Leonardo Bonucci will be unavailable for the match, while even Andrea Barzagli could be unavailable after limping off for Italy in the game against Germany. As it stands, it's imperative Giorgio Chiellini recovers for the match.

However, while the back-line will experience some problems, the focus of the headlines surrounding Juventus is the potential forward-line. The Bianconeri are said to have already identified a few forwards that they would like to see don the black and white of Juventus.

While Luis Suarez will forever be linked to the Italian giants despite the fact he dreams of wearing the white of Real Madrid, according to Tuttosport, the man the Bianconeri are tracking with fervour is Mario Mandzukic -- a rumour that even French papers are widely reporting.

The Croatian is said to fear the lack of playing time that may well occur if, like rumours have suggested for the past year, Robert Lewandowski finally makes the move to the Bavarian giants.

Considering Pep Guardiola's tactics and the need for only one forward at most, is there really a place for Mandzukic? The Turin-based paper believes the player instructed his agent, present in the match between Juventus and Real Madrid on the 5th of November, to seek alternative destinations. This isn't the first time the Italian giants have tracked the Bayern Munich star, who is said to be ideal for Antonio Conte's tactics.

Only a few months ago the Croatian, in an interview with Extra Time, explained how happy he was to know the Bianconeri wanted him in 2012. "I was proud of their interest in me because they are a top club and I admired Gigi Buffon as a boy.

"Juventus were interested in me and I was interested in them," he continued. "But I think my transfer fee was the problem.

"Then Bayern Munich came forward for me and everything was decided."

Everything was then indeed decided and the player made quite the impact when the Germans faced Juve in the Champions League last season. His mobility, ability to adopt defensive positions and capability to score from anywhere in any manner has given Bayern Munich an extra attacking dimension. Boasting spatial awareness as well as the ability to get past a plethora of defenders saw him become a vital cog in Jupp Heynckes' squad last season and he has continued to make an impression this year as well.

The Bavarian side have extracted the best possible version of a player who was once accused of being lazy with a poor attitude. In an extract taken from Aleksandar Holiga's article for the Observer written during Euro 2012, Holiga wrote:

"No coach can tame him,"[Felix] Magath said of Mandzukic. "He's a shrewd and aggressive striker, but often looks reluctant and arrogant on the pitch," added a report on ZDF, a German public-service TV channel, recently. "When midfielders fail to pass him the ball, he sometimes gets upset and reacts like a little baby." It has also been reported that he enjoys taunting the younger players in training, waiting for them to collect all the balls at the end of the session and then firing them at the goal again.

Apparently, the forward can be tamed and if we consider Conte's tactics and the type of player required in that front line, Mandzukic would be an ideal fit. However, as Calciomercato among others also accurately pointed out, isn't it far more necessary Juventus invest in a winger capable of allowing them to transform their shape with more ease?

We have seen how the likes of Juan Cuadrado have impacted Fiorentina's game while Bayern Munich's devastating form last season as well as Real Madrid's consistent threat is based on the ability of their wingers.

Conte has long desired a winger capable of penetrating and offering the side an alternative manner going forward. Can they afford to be scouting forwards when quality in the wide areas is of the utmost importance?


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.