A deal has been struck between Atlético Madrid and Juventus for the transfer of Mario Mandzukic, according to reports tonight from press in Spain in Italy.
UPDATE: Both clubs have now confirmed the transfer, and Mandzukic is officially a Juventus player. He bid farewell to Atleti fans with the following message:
“I want to thank all of the teammates I’ve shared a dressing room with at Atlético, as well as the coaching staff and all of the people who work for the club. It’s been a pleasure for me to be a part of this team and play with so many great players during the last season.
“I would also like to thank all of the fans for such special support in every game. It has been incredible to experience this atmosphere. Now that it’s confirmed that I am leaving, I am receiving many affectionate messages from the fans which shows that I did my job well.
“The moment to face another challenge in a new league has arrived, but I will always support the club and wherever I am there will be one Atlético more.”
The Croatian international is set to leave the Vicente Calderón after just one season for a deal worth an estimated €19million, plus €2m more in variables.
Sky Italia journalist Gianluca di Marzio broke the story on Thursday evening, and revealed that Mandzukic will sign a contract with the Bianconeri until 2019 worth around €4m a season.
In July of last year, Atleti paid around €22m for the striker’s signature, but things haven’t gone quite to plan for the former Bayern Munich man despite a good start.
He was reportedly not Simeone’s personal choice to replace the outgoing Diego Costa, and more often than not failed to offer the all-action type of game his predecessor offered.
However, he still managed 20 goals in all competitions, including the winner in the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid back in August.
Mandzukic also netted in the historic derby win back in February, heading home a cross from Fernando Torres in the last minute to complete a 4-0 humiliation.
As it turned out, that was to be his last goal in open play for Atleti, an ankle injury blighting his season from March onwards as he struggled to find form when needed most.
Should the deal be confirmed, he will join fellow strikers Paulo Dybala and Domenico Berardi in Turin next season, as they prepare for the likely departure of Carlos Tévez to Boca Juniors.
The Argentine frontman supposedly turned down Atleti for a return to his homeland, although the red and whites are poised to confirm the signing of Luciano Vietto from Villarreal before July 1st.
What do you make of Mandzukic’s sale? Other than Vietto, who would you like to see replace him?