Friday, August 19, 2022

24 Y/O Serie A Ace Lined Up As Mkhitaryan Replacement: Smart Find By Mourinho?

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Aakarsh Bommakanti
Was diving around lush green grass not so long ago but my keyboard is all I have now. An avid observer of detail in sports with a passion to make myself heard. Can find me playing on a field if not in front of my screen.

Jose Mourinho will not have too many complaints over the performances of most of his first-team stars but a couple have lost their place in the starting XI this season and one such player who is struggling to even get into the squad is Armenian winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Having moved to Old Trafford at the start of the previous season, Mkhitaryan took time to establish himself as the first choice under Mourinho last season but has just not been able to impress the manager, so much so that he was not named in the squad that faced Manchester City in the derby at the weekend.

So it does not come as a surprise that the 28-year old wants to quit United already and reports today claim that the manager is already looking at replacements. One name constantly doing the rounds is Inter Milan ace, Joao Mario.

According to reports from Italy, United are open to a swap deal for the Mkhitaryan and Mario but are so desperate for his services, that they are ready to meet his valuation of around £40m. So is Joao Mario the right man for the Red Devils?

A product of the Sporting CP academy in his hometown, the 24-year old only moved to Italy in 2016 and has fast established himself as the first choice at the San Siro, making 41 appearances in just over a season. However, he has just four starts this season, and has fallen down the pecking order and could be interested in this move to England.

He still has three assists in four Serie A starts and is a regular starter for the Portuguese national side, where he has 31 caps to his name already. An attacking midfielder by trait, Mario is a gifted dribbler with decent pace to burn. He is a confident player, who can take on his man with ease but is equally adept at breaking defences with short passes.

He loves to take shots on from a distance but is also adept at creating chances on a regular basis but his biggest strength is his industry in the final third. He is an ever-willing runner, happy to help out with the defensive duties regularly and this is what will attract Jose Mourinho.

He can also play on either wing but is at his best as a CAM in a 4-2-3-1 system and will fit right into Mourinho’s style of play at Old Trafford.

If Mkhitaryan’s sold, Juan Mata remains the only natural no.10 for the Red Devils with Pogba as the only other option in this role. Mario could walk straight into the first team, and can add a different dimension to this United attack. He solves an impending problem at the club, adding numbers to their attacking options but is he the right man for the Red Devils?

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