Mario Mandzukic Confirms Bayern Munich Exit Wish, Fuels Arsenal and Chelsea Talk

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2014

Croatia's Mario Mandzukic listens to the national anthem ahead of the international soccer friendly match between Croatia and Mali, in Osijek, Croatia, Saturday, May 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Darko Bandic/Associated Press

Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic has confirmed he wishes to leave the club this summer and has informed the chairman of his decision.

Chris Waugh of the Daily Mail writes that Mandzukic and Bayern supremo Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have held talks regarding the player's future, and it appears the big Croatian forward will exit the Bundesliga champions, triggering rumours of a move to the Premier League.

Waugh quotes Mandzukic saying:

I met with (Bayern chairman) Karl Heinz Rummenigge before the cup final and told him I wanted to leave the club. I've had a fantastic time at Bayern. It's a great club and I never thought I'd want to leave, and especially not at this point in time.

But, let's be honest, I cannot play to my strengths under Guardiola's style - no matter how hard I try. I realised that after the 1-0 defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg and, that being the case, it's best for all parties that we go our separate ways.

Mandzukic has felt uncomfortable playing Pep Guardiola's tiki-taka style but has still showed consistently that he is a potent striker of the highest calibre.

The player hit an excellent 18 goals in 30 appearances for the champions, per Squawka, and only missed four league matches during the campaign.

Mandzukic is perfectly suited to the combative style of English football, and with both Chelsea and Arsenal in the hunt for fresh striking options, the player fits the bill for these teams.

Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

The imminent arrival of Robert Lewandowski at Bayern will have limited Mandzukic's playing time next season, so it is not unexpected that the player is pre-empting a move away.

A strong showing at the World Cup will put him very much in the shop window and start a chase for his services.

Croatia manager Niko Kovac recently spoke about Mandzukic leaving the Bavarian superclub, proclaiming he would rather the player's future were decided before the start of the World Cup but was happy to have a footballer of Mandzukic's quality in his squad.

He said, per Peter Staunton of

"I'd be delighted to have it off the table [before the first match] but I can't influence it. It's great to have such world-class players in our small country. He can play everywhere in Europe. I am not worried about Mario."

Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

Mandzukic would be the ideal candidate to solve Arsenal's issues in the centre-forward position. Olivier Giroud has had no real competition for the No. 9 position since his arrival, and Arsene Wenger needs a Champions League striker to add weight and credibility to his club's trophy chances.

Chelsea have also suffered greatly in the striker's role in recent times, with record signing Fernando Torres flattering to deceive almost on a weekly basis.

Demba Ba will never truly challenge for a starting place in the west London club's starting XI, and Samuel Eto'o was brought in as stopgap.

Mandzukic would be comfortable playing in Mourinho's formation as the lone striker, and he would offer the Chelsea manager a more direct option.

The player now needs to concentrate on the World Cup and show he has the pedigree to continue his goalscoring form at another of Europe's top clubs.