Bayern Munich have sent out a clear statement regarding their intention to hang onto Mario Mandzukic this summer, damaging the hopes of any potential suitors the striker might have.
Chelsea and Arsenal are among those said to be interested in acquiring the Croatian international's services, but Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes the frontman will remain at the Allianz Arena, per the Daily Star's Colin Harvey:
Mario Mandzukic is under contract with our club. I am definitely aware that many clubs have started to show an interest in Mario's services, but I believe he will be with our club way beyond the end of this season.
Both the Blues and the Gunners are in differing need of attacking reinforcements this summer. Jose Mourinho has a bounty of striking options in Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, but he has struggled to find one consistent scoring option to fit his system.
Romelu Lukaku is set to return to Stamford Bridge when his loan at Everton comes to its end this summer, but it's unknown what kind of role Mourinho has in mind for the young Belgian.
Arsene Wenger, on the other hand, has relied heavily on the talents of Olivier Giroud this season, but the Frenchman's back-up has been far from world class.
Yaya Sanogo and Nicklas Bendtner have each featured sporadically when fit, along with Theo Walcott, but a higher quality will be needed if the North Londoners are to challenge for titles on a frequent and widespread basis.
The Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson says a high-profile striker would benefit others at the Emirates Stadium:
And Ozil would benefit more than anyone from a big summer signing up front. Would share pressure and give him more on-field options— Jeremy Wilson (@JWTelegraph) February 20, 2014
Mandzukic's position at Bayern was under some speculation this past winter after it was confirmed that Robert Lewandowski would be heading to Bavaria as a free agent when his Borussia Dortmund deal comes to an end, per BBC Sport.
It wasn't long after that confirmation that Bayern's honorary president and club legend Franz Beckenbauer stated his loyalties as being with the incoming Pole, per German magazine 11freunde (h/t Sky Sports):
Mandzukic could pack his bags. I see Lewandowski in the attack, his playing style is suited for (Pep) Guardiola's ideas than that of Manduzkic. There are even more reasons why he could leave - even without him, Guardiola could still count on Thomas Mueller and Mario Goetze in attack.
More recently, Mandzukic came under fire after footage of a training incident was released, showing the striker going in on the recently fit-again Bastian Schweinsteiger a little too brashly:
The idea of rotating world-class talent in one position is nothing new to Guardiola. It was a conundrum he had to deal with during his time as Barcelona manager, and the wealth of midfield and attacking talent at the Allianz provides a similar dilemma.
However, it's foreseeable that either Lewandowski or Mandzukic would have to take precedence in the squad, and it would be a bitter pill for the latter to swallow given his fine form for the club over the past two seasons.
Mandzukic has 17 goals in 18 Bundesliga starts this season, per Transfermarkt, already beating the total of 15 managed last term in what was his first campaign as a Bayern player.
Opta's Cristian Nyari shows how those figures line up alongside the rest of Germany's top-scoring assets this season:
Best goals/minute rate in Bundesliga (@kicker_bl_li) 1. Huntelaar (90) 2. Mandzukic (94) 3. Pizarro (102) 4. Lasogga (116) 5. Robben (122)— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) March 19, 2014
Der FCB have shown an incredible allure in drawing the world's finest players of late, but it's somewhat more difficult to envision the club selling a star whom they wished to keep hold of.
With that being the case, both Chelsea and Arsenal face a fight if they wish to pursue the forward's signature, with Rummenigge's recent comments making it that much harder to see a move coming to fruition.