European football journalist Kevin Hatchard has told talkSPORT he would be surprised if Everton pulled off a swoop for Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic.
The Croatian has emerged as a potential summer target for the Toffees after reports claimed Blues boss Marco Silva is a fan of what the 33-year-old could offer at Goodison Park, as he scouts for a new target man.
Everton are actively trying to offload Turkish international Cenk Tosun this summer, and Silva would consider a move for Mandzukic if Maurizio Sarri decides the veteran attacker is not vital to his plans following his return to Italy.
It is understood the former Chelsea manager intends to utilise Cristiano Ronaldo as his central figurehead next term, and is opposed to the idea of losing Argentine superstar Paulo Dybala.
Borussia Dortmund are also said to be interested in a move for Mandzukic, while a return to Bayern Munich has been muted. However, Everton’s advances likely hinge on the club finding an outfit willing to pay £20million for Tosun this summer.
Hatchard also doubts the likelihood of Mandzukic considering a move to Merseyside if Sarri were to decide his time in Turin is over, which is by no means a sure thing.
“I don’t think this [rumoured move to Everton would happen],” he said.
“It will be a big surprise in the sense that you look at the clubs he’s played for in his career, and the fact he’s still performing at a decent level for Juve, it’s by no means certain Sarri would not want to use him.
“Obviously Ronaldo is expected to have the central role, but Mandzukic, under [Massimiliano] Allegri, played well in a wide attacking role at times. So he is versatile, experienced and a real competitor.
“Juve may let him go, but I’d be very surprised if Everton are at the head of the queue for him. I think for his experience and quality Juventus would be mad to let him go at this stage.”
Mandzukic scored ten goals and was credited with seven assists across all competitions last season, with one of his 32 outings coming on the left-wing. The 2017/18 term, on the other hand, saw Allegri utilise the 89-cap international on the left channel more frequently, with the Croatian deployed on the flank 31 times in 42 games, where he scored six of his ten goals and created a further two.