Fans begging for Arsenal to sign a new striker when the summer transfer window opens can rejoice, as it seems like the Gunners will be facing a little less competition for one of the top targets on the market.
According to David Wright of The Express, Wolfsburg manager Klaus Allofs has publicly stated his team will not be in the running for Bayern Munich forward Mario Mandzukic this summer. The Wolfsburg boss was quoted saying:
A transfer for Mario Mandzukic is unlikely
We will be able to just do a few things and we won't be able to pay every transfer fee. Of course, we have a good squad and we want to get better
According to Transfermarkt.co.uk, Mandzukic is currently valued at £20 million, a fee that would be out of Wolfsburg's price range.
One less competitor is good news for Arsenal, and the team should do whatever necessary to bring the Croatian forward to the Emirates at the end of this season.
Mandzukic has been a highly productive player for current Champions League holders Bayern, but as a classic in-the-box striker, he doesn't fit the system that new coach Pep Guardiola has installed in Bavaria.
Borussia Dortmund forward Robert Lewandowski does, and as reported by Transfer News Central, he'll be joining the Rekordmeister at the conclusion of this season:
OFFICIAL: Bayern Munich have made Robert Lewandowski signing official. Will join on a five-year contract on a free in the summer.— Transfer Central TNC (@TransferNewsCen) January 4, 2014
Croatia international Mandzukic is too good to be wasted as a bench player, though, having scored an impressive 18 goals in 28 total appearances, per WhoScored.com. And at 27 years of age, in the prime of his career, it seems unlikely the striker would be satisfied with taking a backseat the Polish international.
Since the departure of Robin van Persie, Arsenal have struggled to find a new striker capable of shouldering the scoring load, and despite his best efforts, Nicklas Bendtner will not be the player to change that:
Olivier Giroud is a fine player, but a top striker he is not.
Mandzukic is. With a strong build and an excellent nose for goal, the Croatian forward has been excellent leading the Bavarian attack since 2012. There are some, like the Associated Press' Ciaran Fahey, who even wonder why anyone would have to take the Croatian's place to begin with:
The former Wolfsburg forward has become an easy target used to deflect all that is wrong with Bayern this season and has spent the last few months being constantly reminded how he's just there to warm Lewandowski's seat.
Given the opportunity to start elsewhere, a motivated Mandzukic could be a very efficient option up front for any team in need of some attacking reinforcements.
Arsenal need such a player, with the current options severely lacking and young talents like Yaya Sanogo still several seasons away from contributing consistently.
Mandzukic will not come cheap, but Arsenal have been trying to get by without a top option at the striker position for two seasons now and have little to show for it. In order to compete with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, having a forward who can consistently put the ball in the back of the net is a necessity.
The Croatian has an excellent scoring record, is still young at the age of 27 and will be available as Bayern make the transition toward Lewandowski. The Bavarians' loss should be Arsenal's gain, and the Gunners should do whatever necessary to bring the Croatian to the EPL this summer.