Chelsea Transfer News: Mario Mandzukic Shouldn't Be Viewed as Top Target

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2014

Bayern's Mario Mandzukic of Croatia gestures on the pitch during the Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in Munich, Germany, on Saturday, April 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

Although goalscoring was an issue for Chelsea this past season, the Blues shouldn't overcorrect and bring in Mario Mandzukic this summer if their other projected deals come through.

By now, most supporters have read of Mandzukic's problems with Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola. The Croatian forward has been left out of the Bayern squad for the German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund, per The Guardian.

According to Sport Bild in Germany, per Von Christian Falk and Tobias Altschaffl, Guardiola told Mandzukic, "I wish you luck at your new club," via German football writer Clark Whitney:

For all intents and purposes, it would seem that the Croatian's future lies away from the Allianz Arena:

Should Mandzukic get transfer-listed by Bayern, Chelsea are viewed as top contenders to secure his signature. Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror reported that the Blues could send David Luiz to Munich in exchange for Mandzukic and £15 million.

You have to wonder, though, does the club need another marquee forward?

The Diego Costa transfer looks a done deal. The Guardian's Dominic Fifield reported that Chelsea will meet the Atletico Madrid's £31.8 million release clause for the Brazil-born striker. Although the Blues haven't reached an agreement with the player, those negotiations should speed up once Atletico's season is over.

Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Manager Jose Mourinho doesn't often use two-striker formations, especially at Chelsea in order to accommodate all of the club's attacking midfielders. While it's possible that he could use two forwards more frequently next year, either Costa or Mandzukic could find himself on the outside looking in on occasion.

Between the two, you'd bet that would be the Croatian. While a talented forward, he's not at Costa's level.

Mandzukic was crowded out at Bayern, and that doesn't look to be ending well. German football journalist Raphael Honigstein indicated that the player wasn't all that happy adapting to a new role:

On paper, sure it's great to have two strikers the caliber of Costa and Mandzukic. In practice, though, keeping both of those players happy may be difficult to do.

Chelsea could look at the problems Paris Saint-Germain have created for themselves by putting Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the pitch together. According to, the Uruguayan hasn't been happy with his role at the French club, despite moving there just last summer.

Real Madrid had similar problems when both Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain were in the squad. The club eventually faced a choice, and as a result, it sent Higuain to Napoli.

Ultimately, somebody has to be considered the first-choice striker, and that's bound to alienate the player lower down the ladder.

Of course, the bigger issue is where all of this would leave Romelu Lukaku.

Bogdan Maran/Associated Press

The club already has a ready-made Premier League striker coming back on loan. The young Belgian has performed very well in his last two seasons, so surely he's earned the right to prove his worth at Stamford Bridge.

Some of Lukaku's critics would argue that he doesn't have Champions League experience. While that's true, the converse is that he can't gain that valuable experience constantly getting loaned out to mid-table Premier League sides.

Only 21 years old, Lukaku is one of the most talented young forwards in the world. It's not far off to think that in a year or two, he'll have surpassed Mandzukic in terms of quality and production.

Signing Costa wouldn't prevent Lukaku from having a valuable role in the first team, but signing both Costa and Mandzukic would.

Mourinho has shown, though, with his handling of the attacking midfield that he's not afraid of creating a little competition. Juan Mata was seen as untouchable before the season, but his presence in the Chelsea squad was deemed superfluous by January.

Perhaps the same fate could befall Lukaku.

If Chelsea are unable to lock down the Costa transfer, then Mandzukic's deal would be a great backup plan. Buying them both seems like overkill.