After failing to deliver a trophy in his first season back in charge at Chelsea, manager Jose Mourinho is determined to shake up his squad ahead of next season.
Lipton states the Chelsea gaffer is even prepared to include utility defender David Luiz in any deal. Mandzukic certainly fits the mold of a striker Mourinho usually prefers.
The 27-year-old is physically commanding, aggressive and, perhaps most important, a selfless team player. Mandzukic has not quite settled under Guardiola, despite scoring 21 goals and providing six assists, per WhoScored.com.
He was left out of Guardiola's squad for the German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund, per Sky Sports. A swap deal involving Luiz going the other way is considered "imminent," among certain Bundesliga sources:
Guardiola, to Mandzukic: "I wish you luck at your new club" - via SportBild. Chelsea swap with David Luiz may be imminent— Clark Whitney (@Mr_Bundesliga) May 16, 2014
Mourinho's keenness to land Mandzukic might seem strange, given the recent reports about a deal being struck to sign bullish Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa this summer.
Sky Sports stated Chelsea will pay £32 million to land Costa, but the assimilated Spanish international's arrival needn't preclude a bid for Mandzukic.
Costa has thrived through the middle for Atletico this season. But he operated on the left of a front three during the 2012/13 campaign, while Radamel Falcao led the line centrally.
A front-line duo of Costa and Mandzukic would be tough for many teams to contain. Given how a lack of credible options upfront wrecked Chelsea's trophy aspirations this season, loading up on fresh talent makes sense.
Lukaku has been on loan at fellow English Premier League side Everton, where his performances have earned plenty of positive reviews. But for whatever reason, the fleet-footed powerhouse doesn't seem to fit with Mourinho's grand plan.
Signing the exciting 21-year-old to replace Costa would certainly be a coup for Atletico. It would soften the blow of losing the club's talisman.
Keeping Terry is an important move, as he has been a key part of the stingiest defence in England's top flight. Chelsea were breached just 27 times in league action.
But as important as Terry is, Lampard is just as significant to the Chelsea cause. His goal outlay has decreased, but Lampard adds savvy and creativity to central midfield areas otherwise populated with defensive-minded destroyers.
Along with Terry, Lampard has been a symbol of Chelsea's consistent run of success since Roman Abramovich assumed ownership of the club in 2003.
That consistency was interrupted by a rare blip this season, but if Mourinho keeps his leaders, and adds forward-thinking quality to defensive resolve, Chelsea will be a major player in the pursuit of silverware next term.