Mario Mandzukic has been left out of Bayern Munich's squad for their German Cup final clash with Borussia Dortmund on Saturday in Berlin, fuelling speculation he may be leaving the club in the summer.
Bayern Munich's official Twitter feed reported manager Pep Guardiola's comments on his squad selection:
The Manchester Evening News' Oliver Todd confirmed Mandzukic was not suffering from any injury and speculated as to what this might mean for the 27-year-old Croatian striker:
Guardiola leaves Mandzukic out of his German Cup Final squad completely - not injured. Is he off this summer? (via @Sergio_Santome)— Oliver Todd (@oliver_todd) May 16, 2014
The news will be of interest to Premier League club Chelsea. The Blues are on the hunt for new forwards this summer and have been linked with Mandzukic, per Daniel Harris in The Guardian.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has consistently lamented his side's lack of a quality striker this season, as reported by Sky Sports:
We have good players, but we don't have the kind of striker able to, in a short space, to make an action, to score a goal, to open the gate. [...]
We have to try to win as a team, to improve as a team, but also add the attacking player with that killer instinct and the number of goals that push teams to different levels.
Chelsea's top-scoring striker in the Premier League this season was Samuel Eto'o, who bagged nine goals, per BBC Sport.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have consistently been linked with Mandzukic as a player who could assist and complement Olivier Giroud at the top of their attack, per Simon Jones in the Daily Mail.
Mandzukic bagged 18 Bundesliga goals this season, per Squawka. That figure was bettered only by Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski, who is joining Bayern in the summer, per ESPN FC:
Robert Lewandowski finishes his Dortmund career as the Bundesliga top scorer with 20 goals! Next stop, Bayern Munich pic.twitter.com/fEI1DrX2ad— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 10, 2014
The addition of the Polish star, agreed back in January, has furthered speculation of Mandzukic's departure for much of the second half of the season.
His omission from Saturday's DFB Pokal final at the Olympiastadion all but confirms this with his price tag reportedly £20 million, per John Edwards in the Daily Mail.
The Croatian would be a strong addition to any side. He is a proven goalscorer and a daunting physical presence in the penalty area.
If he is indeed on the way out of Bayern, it may cause quite some scrap as both Arsenal and Chelsea fight for his signature.