Arsenal have been handed a lifeline in their bid to land elite attacking reinforcements this summer after Wolfsburg confirmed that they will not be re-signing former striker Mario Mandzukic.
German magazine Kicker (h/t Daily Mirror's Ben Burrows) quoted Wolves' board member Stephan Gruhsem as saying "Mandzukic will not return to Wolfsburg," which was then confirmed by BT Sport's Raphael Honigstein:
Wolfsburg: Mandzukic deal not happening. (Via @kicker_bl_li)— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) June 20, 2014
It's terrific news as far as Arsene Wenger will be concerned. Although Wolfsburg arguably wouldn't be able to offer the same football prospects as Arsenal, their advantage in having been home to the Bayern Munich striker between 2010 and 2012 was significant.
DW Sports' Ross Dunbar believes that if Wolfsburg did manage to bring their former star back, it could put them on a par with the likes of Bayern and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga hierarchy:
If Mario Mandzukic returns to Wolfsburg, then they're title challengers, in my book.— Ross Dunbar (@rossdunbar93) June 20, 2014
Thanks to Spain's early exit at this year's World Cup, Diego Costa's move to Chelsea will be completed all the sooner, per the Daily Star's Rhys Turrell, alleviating the Gunners of some Premier League competition for Mandzukic's services.
With Robert Lewandowski set to begin the next chapter of his prolific career at the Allianz Arena this coming season, it's understandable that the Croatian forward should seek a move away and north London could be accommodating.
Mandzukic is currently occupied at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where, after missing his side's opening defeat to Brazil, he returned to score two goals against Cameroon in a Man of the Match display, per the official Bundesliga Twitter account:
It's true that Mandzukic and Olivier Giroud, Wenger's current incumbent up front, are similar in the way they go about their business.
Both forwards have become accustomed to occupying the front line almost single-handedly, fed ammunition from out wide, but both are more than your average centre-forward.
Granted, if Wenger were to bring Mandzukic in, his system would still consist of just one main striker but to have Giroud competing alongside such an elite scoring talent, and with the right morale encouraged among the group, it could work wonders.
Joel Campbell—the Arsenal striker out on loan at Olympiakos last season—can offer an entirely alternative striking approach should Wenger require one, and the Costa Rican international has exploded into the limelight thanks to his World Cup endeavours.
Sky Sports' South American correspondent Paulo Freitas even went as far as to term the young attacker the most improved player of the tournament:
@furkantat33 Most improved in what sense? I think Joel Campbell might be a good candidate either way.— Paulo Freitas (@Cynegeticus) June 20, 2014
Giroud has also shown good form in Brazil, and his display against Switzerland in particular showed that there's more in his locker than your regular, static and stubborn style of lofty forward.
If Wenger is capable of utilising two strikers with such high first-team expectations within the same squad while (most of the time) competing for the same position, it could make for a "partnership" of devastating potential.