Mario Mandzukic has made it clear that he wants to leave Bayern Munich this summer. Per Joe Short at The Express, his agent has said that a decision on his ultimate destination this summer will be made by Wednesday, and Chelsea and Arsenal will both be monitoring the situation closely.
According to Chris Waugh at the Daily Mail, Mandzukic’s main reason for leaving the Bundesliga giants is that he feels his style of play is incompatible with Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka tactics. Robert Lewandowski’s arrival in Munich was the final straw as the prolific Polish striker will certainly be first choice next year.
It is no secret that Chelsea are in desperate need of a quality, consistent goalscorer. While their pursuit of Diego Costa, per Sami Mokbel at the Daily Mail, has been the biggest story of the summer, Mandzukic has been quietly linked with the Blues as well.
His ability to play as a target man, much as Didier Drogba did, would give Chelsea an outlet for their creative midfielders. Mourinho’s penchant for counter-attacking football would give Mandzukic the freedom to play as an out-and-out striker, using his excellent off-the-ball work to open up defences that they struggled to break down last season.
By contrast, Arsenal have been trying to emulate Barcelona’s tiki-taka football for years. While the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere ensure that the ball is moved quickly around midfield, the Gunners' preferred method for scoring seems to be to walk the ball into the net. Olivier Giroud was their top scorer last season with 18 goals despite missing the crucial Christmas period through injury. Arsenal also have Lukas Podolski available to play as a striker, while Costa Rica’s Joel Campbell’s World Cup heroics have made a compelling case for his inclusion in the 2014-15 squad at the Emirates.
At Chelsea, there is a gaping hole where a goalscoring striker should be. Per the official club website, Samuel Eto’o has left after a mediocre season in which he scored nine goals at Stamford Bridge, while Fernando Torres has again failed to find the form that commanded a £50 million transfer fee. According to ESPN, Demba Ba has been reassured that he will have a role to play next season, but Romelu Lukaku looks likely to leave London this summer, per Alex Richards at The Mirror.
Combined with the fact that attacking midfielder Eden Hazard was left to pick up the strikers’ slack last season, and it is far easier to see how Mandzukic would fit in at Chelsea.
According to Adrian Kajumba at the Daily Star, Jose Mourinho has made the Premier League his primary objective, and signing Cesc Fabregas has strengthened the centre of midfield. Putting Mandzukic in front of an attacking midfield as strong as the Blues’ will bring the most benefit to both player and club.