Arsene Wenger recently revealed the possibility of a summer move for Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic, according to The Daily Mail's Neil Ashton, raising the prospect of a huge end-of-season arrival at Arsenal.
Mandzukic would be an ideal fit for the Gunners, with the Croatia international skilled at leading the line while several attackers swarm past—an approach adopted by both Bayern and Arsenal.
Ashton captures quotes from Wenger talking of his previous interest in Robert Lewandowski, who has opted to swap Borussia Dortmund for Bayern this summer:
Yes we looked into Lewandowski but honestly he signed for Bayern one and a half years ago, everyone knows that.
They can only make it official now because he is in the last six months of his contract.
The Arsenal manager then went on to discuss Mandzukic, whom Bayern may be more open to selling now that Lewandowski's signature has been sealed: "Lewandowski is at Dortmund until the end of the season and they will not sell Mandzukic now - maybe at the end of the season."
If there is genuine substance to Wenger's perceived interest, Arsenal must pursue it with the same intent and financial clout that landed them Mesut Ozil.
Mandzukic possesses similar aerial ability and hold-up play to Olivier Giroud, but with a more polished overall technique.
Whereas the Frenchman has been dispossessed 36 times in 18 Premier League games this season, Mandzukic has lost the ball just 19 times in 16 Bundesliga appearances, per WhoScored.com.
It's the same discrepancy with turnovers: Giroud has surrendered play 40 times to Mandukic's 20. Clearly the ball sticks with the Croatian far more often.
Bayern's No. 9 uses his stature to keep possession and link up with the onrushing Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, in a similar manner as Giroud does with Ozil and Santi Cazorla.
Mandzukic is also, most importantly, a clinical predator in front of goal. He already has 10 Bundesliga goals this season and a further two in the Champions League, two more than Giroud has managed in more playing time.
Mandzukic also managed 22 goals for Bayern Munich last season, five more than Giroud, including the opening goal in the Champions League final.
However, regardless of how Mandzukic's game measures up to Arsenal's current striker, the fact the Gunners have no other experienced option highlights just how important his signing would be.
Wenger needs both players to begin landing regular silverware.
Would Mandzukic start over Giroud?
Currently, Arsenal's reserve options involve the now-injured Theo Walcott or Lukas Podolski playing out of position, or the also-sidelined Nicklas Bendtner—additions that make the Gunners far less formidable.
This lack of firepower will likely hurt this season's title charge and is something Wenger must address both now and in the summer.
Adding Dimitar Berbatov—another striker ideally suited to clever interplay with his midfielders—would make immediate sense and provide a short-term fix from January.
Making an aggressive summer move for Mandzukic would then provide the Gunners with a long term solution.