Mario Mandzukic: Villa Move for £10M Deadly Croat Hitman

Mario MandzukicReports in Croatia suggest Aston Villa are closing in on Croatian duo Anas Sharbini and Mario Mandzukic in a double transfer coup. Here is our rundown on striker Mandzukic who has hit double figures for league goals in each of the last four seasons.

Interest is growing in one of Croatia’s brightest young talents Mario Mandzukic but it is Aston Villa who are currently leading the queue. The Dinamo Zagreb striker was expected to move to Werder Bremen last summer but reports in the German and Croatian media suggested the deal fell through due to the player’s price-tag. However, the player is pushing for a move and Villa will have the funds if James Milner is sold to Manchester City. Martin O’Neill is also expected to sell the likes of Nigel Reo-Coker, Emile Heskey, Nicky Shorey and Steven Sidwell which will also boost the transfer kitty further.

The player’s agent Ivan Cvjetkovic has confirmed that the player wants out. He told German newspaper Bild, “We have told Dinamo that Mario wants to leave the club.”

Interest in England and in particular Aston Villa has been growing and the player revealed his ambition when he declared, “My goal is to join a strong club where I will continue to progress.”

Aston Villa are not the only club to have shown an interest as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is a keen admirer although he is unlikely to make a bid following the capture of Marouane Chamakh.

Mandzukic finished as 4th top goal scorer in the Croatian league last season following 14 goals in 24 league appearances (all starts). This haul didn’t include any penalties and explains why he is so highly-rated in his homeland and now Europe. The previous season the Aston Villa target finished as top scorer with 16 goals in 28 league appearances (27 starts). He has started this season in the same vein with two goals in a 5-1 Champions League qualifying win over FC Koper this week. Aston Villa scouts were in attendance and could not have failed to be impressed with the big target man’s contribution.

The 24-year-old joined Dinamo in the summer of 2007 as a replacement for Arsenal bound Eduardo da Silva and has been a big success after scoring 42 goals in 81 league appearances (75 starts) for the current Croatian champions. He is seen as the ideal man to compliment the Aston Villa attack with his quality link-up player coupled with a great work-rate and physicality. John Carew and Gabriel Agbonlahor enjoyed impressive seasons but Mandzukic can play in both of their roles as well as wide or in the hole. Therefore, his signing would give Martin O’Neill a host of attacking options.

The 6 ft 1 striker was born in Slavonski Brod but started his career with German outfit Ditzingen before returning to his homeland to join NK Marsonia. Mandzukic did not feature in the first team before leaving to join NK Zagreb. In two seasons with the club, the tall striker scored 14 league goals in 51 appearances before Dinamo made their 1.3 million Euro move.


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Mandzukic has proven to be a huge success as Dinamo have won back to back league and cup doubles in his first two seasons with the club followed by his third title success last season. Having dominated the Croatian league, the Dinamo Zagreb striker is now looking to depart with Aston Villa looking the likeliest of options. Martin O’Neill is facing a very difficult summer in keeping his best players and recruiting new stars but after last season’s bitter disappointments, Villa are aiming to significantly strengthen. Mandzukic is renowned as an excellent finisher who is sharp in the box and is a regular member of the Croatian international squad.

The 24-year-old has only scored once in 13 international appearances and that goal came against England in the 4-1 home qualifying defeat back in September 2008. He’d been on the pitch just 6 minutes when he scored.

Man City were linked with the striker when Sven Goran Eriksson was in charge but it would seem that Villa Park will be the player’s next destination. He could prove to be the perfect foil for Gabriel Agbonlahor in a typical big man, small man pairing but he is also capable of playing the lone striker role or playing off a player like John Carew to good effect. His fee is expected to be in the region of £10m but with the financials constraints around Europe, a £8m offer may well be enough to bring Mandzukic to Aston Villa.

Do you like the look of Mario Mandzukic? Is he the type of player Villa needs? Let’s hear our views.

Posted in Blog, Home Blogs | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

7 Responses to Mario Mandzukic: Villa Move for £10M Deadly Croat Hitman

  1. m kop says:

    Is Aston Villa really making this mistake?
    I’m a Liverpool supporter but belive me you are just giving money for a player based on a few good preeformances for his national team, most in friendlys.

    His preformances in the HNS, Croatian League have been average if you take in to a consideration his goalscoring record and the club he plays in.
    Eduardo da Silva, Arsenal player, was scoring 30 or 40 goals playing for Dinamo Zagreb and he is not even close to that.

  2. Tomislav says:

    look m kop Says
    . And please don’t mention Eduardo in a negative light because it was an exceptional season he had for Dinamo, he scored left, right and center. Viduka, Suker, and many others played at Dinamo and none of them had a season so good. And Mandzukic is not a goalscorer he’s more like Chamakh or Kuyt he runs a lot and flies into challenges.

  3. Aero says:

    m kop,

    he has over a 1 in 2 goal scoring record for Zagreb. Who doesnt consider that decent?

  4. m kop says:

    I never mentioned Eduardo in negative light, he is the best striker Croatia has, yes better than Olic, and I would like him to get more first team football but it will be hard to get in Arsenal.

    All I say that Mandzukic in comparasion to him is not at his level and that Aston Villa could probably get Eduardo for less than Mandzukic would be worth.

  5. Davis says:

    Why not just buy Eduardo?

  6. Andrew says:

    Please no @Eduardo. Average player. Slow, weak, average. This player is very talented, strong in the air and someone who can finish a cross. The player we’re missing. Sign him up O’Neill.

  7. Dave says:

    Well i wouldnt say that Eduardo is slow…. or really weak considering he is playing football after having his foot ripped off. Im a villa season ticket holder and i just watched the little promo of Mandzukic….. He is not much different from big john… i cnt see that spending 10 million on the kind of player we have two of is good buisness… i mean carew and heskey are both big Luggers as i call em and this guy seems the same. Villa are a poor technical side which is frigthening considering we have young, milner and downing. So i would prefer a good footballing forward who can create as well as score and maybe give us something enjoyable to watch. Also we need a real ball winning midfield player so we can finally get rid of Petrov. The grab needs to go as he has far too little pace for the prem and the roll he plays…. Reo coker would start for me all day as a box to box midfielder and also someone who actaully gets there foot in!. Our main target should also be stephen ireland and santa cruz has a bit more about him than what we have!!!!