A season of turmoil in Turin could benefit Manchester United as Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils have reportedly begun to eye a possible move for Serbian international striker Dušan Vlahović.
The 22-year-old Belgrade native and former academy attendee at OFK Beograd and FK Partizan entered his first full season at the Allianz Stadium in 2022-23 after his winter arrival at Juventus during the January transfer window in 2021-22.
Vlahović arrived after a season and a half-breakout in Firenze with AFC Fiorentina where he bagged 38 Serie A goals in just 58 appearances for I Viola. Though he personally has already brought goals to the Old Lady of Italian Football since his arrival to the tune of 13 goals in 25 Serie A appearances, including 6 in 10 this season, his efforts have not been enough to help Juventus avoid what has been a season to forget on every conceivable level in Piedmont.
At the time of writing, Juventus failed to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League and only managed just three points in Group H on the back of a single win against Maccabi Haifa while having to rely on goal difference to narrowly squeak into the Europa League.
And to make matters worse, Juve currently sits eighth in Serie A and is already ten points adrift of table-topping SSC Napoli before their Sunday clash against bitter rivals Inter Milan in the Derby d’Italia.
Should the club fail to make a serious run in the knockout stage of the Europa League and miss out on Champions League football in 2023-24 via league qualification, there is a feeling in the United camp that Vlahović could present a summer transfer target should he wish to move away from Juve if the club’s trajectory is not correctly in rapid order.
United’s desire for a true center-forward is well documented, with the club lacking a real long-term option in the position as well as the head-scratching situation involving Cristiano Ronaldo.
United has ample options on the flanks in the vein of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Antony, Anthony Elanga, Alejandro Garnacho, and Facundo Pellistri, but only the inconsistent and regularly unfit Anthony Martial is the only other center-forward beyond Ronaldo, who is out of contract at Old Trafford in the summer.
Given the success of Sébastien Haller under Ten Hag at Ajax last season, a forward of Vlahović's profile could easily suit what the Dutchman wants to achieve on the pitch, and it would be no surprise if the Red Devils entered the fray should the Serbian star indeed want to move to greener pastures after the current campaign.