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Mario Mandzukic is closing in on a move to AC Milan after turning down the chance to join Aston Villa and West Ham United, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

The Villans and Hammers may have taken the league by storm this season, sitting just six points adrift of the Champions League places after a fine start to 2020/21, but it seems Mandzukic’s arm was not for twisting.

According to Gianluca di Marzio, the 34-year-old free agent rejected the chance to play Premier League football for the first time in his storied career, turning down offers from Aston Villa and West Ham after bringing a premature end to a forgettable stint with Al Duhail.

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This, of course, is one of the most decorated footballers of the modern era we’re talking about.

Mandzukic lifted a stunning 23 trophies during spells at Juventus, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Dinamo Zagreb while reaching the final of the 2018 World Cup with Croatia.

Perhaps understandably, a granite-carved centre-forward once described by Pep Guardiola as the best in the world in the air had little interest in winding down his silver-coated career fighting for a top-ten finish.

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An AC Milan side sitting pretty at the top of the Serie A table – and dreaming of a first Scudetto title in a decade – feels like a more fitting destination.

Eurosport backs up claims from TMW, stating that Mandzukic is likely to end up at the San Siro after Milan missed out on Real Madrid misfit Luka Jovic.

They were also said to be interested in Sassuolo youngster Gianluca Scamacca but the £18 million-rated Italy U21 international is heading to Juventus instead.

Remarkably, 34-year-old Mandzukic is a relative whippersnapper compared with Milan’s star striker – 39-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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In other news, Gary Neville praises Aston Villa star Jack Grealish