Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic has confirmed he will leave the Bundesliga champions this summer, providing the perfect opportunity for Arsene Wenger to add a top class centre forward to the Gunners ranks.
The want-away forward, whose contract expires in 2016, has expressed his desire to leave the Bavarian outfit after struggling to adapt to Pep Guardiola’s style of play.
The Spaniard is notorious for demanding certain jobs from centre forwards within his disciplined formation, with high-profile striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic also struggling to integrate during his time at Barcelona under Pep.
Chelsea are the other reported favourites for his signature, however as they are set to bring in Diego Costa it remains unlikely they can finance a deal for the Croatia international too as they aim to meet the FFP spending regulations. Leaving Arsenal in the driving seat to acquire the highly rated 28-year-old.
With the impending arrival of Robert Lewandowski this summer, Mandzukic has been destined to depart especially after two documented bust-ups with Pep Guardiola. He’s now confirmed his exit despite being offered a contract extension during the season, and is looking forward to a fresh challenge elsewhere.
The Croatia international reportedly told Sportske novosti:
At Bayern it was fantastic. It’s a fantastic club. Indeed, until recently I didn’t even think about leaving, and especially that it would happen now.
Let’s be honest, the style Guardiola wants at Bayern doesn’t suit me.
In the first leg against Real in Madrid [in the Champions League semi-final], I definitely understood, no matter how much I try, I can’t get the best out of myself with this style.
When it’s like that, I don’t feel good and it’s best for everyone that we part.
Thanks to the club who offered a contract extension, thanks to Guardiola, who is a great coach, and I wish everyone all the best for the future.
Bayern and their fans will always be the most beautiful and most emotional story of my career. The time has come for new challenges.
Arsenal need a top centre forward to compete with Olivier Giroud, and in Mandzukic there is the potential to add a striker who has succeeded at the highest level and is not completely dissimilar from the Frenchman. He is faster though and can inject some much needed directness to our attack while also adding some of the ingredients that has typified a Giroud performance – such as his solid hold-up play and strength up front. Also, Arsenal’s style of play is less rigid then Pep’s, so he should adapt quickly and flourish in north London.
Wenger and his negotiation team better be on the case.. Like last summer there are limited available centre forwards, we cannot afford another Higuain-situation if, of course, Mandzukic wants to join the Gunners. He would be a great signing.