Vucinic Is The Striker To Send Tottenham Hotspur Back Into The Top Four

Roma's Mirko Vucinic is a mixed bag of genius and apathy. If Tottenham offer him the chance to step out of Totti's shadow they might just get more of the former than the latter.
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Roma's Mirko Vucinic is a mixed bag of genius and apathy. If Tottenham offer him the chance to step out of Totti's shadow they might just get more of the former than the latter.

Roma's Mirko Vucinic is a mixed bag of genius and apathy. If Tottenham offer him the chance to step out of Totti's shadow they might just get more of the former than the latter.

He may look like someone who has just wiped the sleep out of his eyes but Mirko Vucinic is no sloth when the mood takes him.

Mirko Vucinic is one of those people who give off the air of somehow having just woken up from a long afternoon nap and is in need of another one.

With his hair eschew; a hangdog look and sporting an ever-present five o’clock shadow, the AS Roma striker’s laid-back style is as frustrating to coaches and fans alike as it is exasperating to defenders – one moment shrugging his shoulders the next dipping them and turning an opponent this way and that.

This is what you get with the Montenegrin in your side – the full gambit of the good, the bad and the downright ugly – one of Serie A’s great enigmas.

At times, the perception of the 27-year-old is that he would rather be anywhere else than on a football pitch when things are not going his way – and naturally he is perceived as being slower in thought and body than he really is, but when his confidence is up then he looks the most fleet-footed and graceful player you have ever seen.

Former Giallorossi coach Luciano Spalletti, who was in the hot seat in the Capital when Vucinic arrived from Lecce in 2006, highlighted what many see as both the forward’s strength and weakness.

“He is never content doing the simple thing,” claimed the current Zenit St Petersburg boss. “He wants to shine and try something outrageous, but if he fails then he will try and get it right next time.”

There is no doubt that when he has been on song from the first whistle then the faithful inside the Olympic stadium know they are to be treated to a performance something out of the ordinary, but if that first touch bounces of his shin or a pass goes astray then chances are it could be one of those days of blank stares and head shaking.

The astute Claudio Ranieri who had his fair share of run-ins with the player during his time in charge of Roma, put it nicely: “He just needs to let the mistakes go and put a bit of devilment into his game.”

The summer transfer market started with interest from Blackburn Rovers who were reportedly dismissed as being deemed beneath his talent

The ever-demanding Roma fans, who can turn on a player with the viciousness of the baying crowds of the coliseum of ancient Roma, have not helped – and last season they were very quick to get on Vucinic’s back as they were with another flair player Jeremy Menez – but even more challenging is upstaging Francesco Totti.

With the aging hometown hero refusing to play anywhere other than the focal point of all attacking moves through the middle, Vucinic has been shunned from his favoured central role to the flanks - and in particular out to the left wing.

He is a player who likes to attack space but at the same time his lithe-looking 6ft frame belies a robust approach ensuring he is very rarely muscled off the ball with his back to goal – and in and around the area his touch and awareness of those in close proximity suddenly make him the model team player.

In fact, some of his best performances have come when Totti has dropped deeper enabling Vucinic to burst forward or simply appear from nowhere to occupy the no-man’s land on the edge of the box.

Last season was a mixed bag of the sublime and the ridiculous – missing an open goal against Palermo has been a particular YouTube favourite but then so has his last-gasp diving header for the winner against Inter – and as the campaign wore on and the team lost its way so Vucinic became a more marginalized figure although he ended the season just four league goals behind Totti on ten from 21 starts.

The summer transfer market started with interest from Blackburn Rovers who were reportedly dismissed as being deemed beneath his talent. Then it appears that Tottenham Hotspur would not meet the 20m euros asking price while Juventus have been hovering in the background without making a concrete offer.

Now the names of Manchester United and Arsenal are doing the rounds and either club could just be the platform to reawaken self-belief and conviction that the maverick Mirko can become the big-stage player to match his mesmerizing talent.

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