Arsenal will have to pay £20 million if they want to land unwanted Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic, according to reports.
The Gunners' search for a striker doesn't look to be getting any easier after the German champions stamped a high price on a forward who looks certain to move away from the Allianz Arena this summer. Tom Collomosse of the London Evening Standard provides the details:
Mandzukic is thought to be keen on a move to the Premier League but Bayern value the Croatia international at about £20million, and he earns about £60,000 a week. While the wages would not be a problem for Arsenal, Standard Sport understands the fee is a little higher than they believe he is worth.
Is Mario Mandzukic worth £20 million?
Such a fee certainly appears inflated when you consider Mandzukic is 28 years old and surplus to requirements in Pep Guardiola's side. Although contracted until June 2016, per Transfermarkt, Robert Lewandowski's arrival ensures the Croatian's opportunities will be limited.
Considering rotational forward Claudio Pizarro recently extended his tenure with the Bundesliga giants for another year, as reported by Sky Sports, it's even clearer how Mandzukic's target-man style is no longer craved in Bavaria.
At the right price, he could represent a smart coup for Arsenal, who need a leading goalscorer to compete with Olivier Giroud for a place in Arsene Wenger's first team.
Mandzukic scored 21 goals and provided six assists in 40 appearances across the German domestic division and Champions League last year, per WhoScored.com. He is a strong finisher from close range, dominant in the air and represents a more physically imposing alternative to Giroud, who netted 18 and provided nine assists in a combined total of 43 matches last year, according to WhoScored.com.
Wenger could opt for the all-out pace of Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy instead. He offers a different set of skills to Giroud, unlike Mandzukic, whose style isn't too dissimilar to the current Arsenal hit man. Remy would cost in the region of £8 million, reported by David Kent of the Daily Mail, representing shrewder business for the North London club.
One area Wenger looks to have tied up quickly is the right-back chasm left by Bacary Sagna. Arsenal are set to sign Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle after the World Cup, for "a fee of around £12m," per David Woods of the Mirror. Again, this seems a rather hefty price considering the French full-back is 28 and Sagna left on a free, but spending heavily may become a theme of Wenger's summer.
Currently representing France ahead of Sagna at the World Cup, Debuchy recently suggested he is on the cusp of moving. "I miss European football and the Champions League in particular," he noted, per Woods. "For the moment, I'm concentrating on the World Cup. We'll see about the rest afterwards."
As noted by Squawka, Debuchy's stats can certainly be compared to Sagna:
The only Arsenal defender to win more Premier League aerial duels than Mathieu Debuchy last season (111) was Bacary Sagna (119).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 30, 2014
Former Newcastle star Micky Quinn provided Debuchy with a less-than-rave review ahead of the proposed transfer, saying, "It would not bother me if he left or stayed," per the Chronicle Live. "Debuchy is not a great defender, although he is decent going forward."
Even so, Arsenal fans will be pleased to see Wenger quickly addressing the club's needs. A striker should now be the main priority, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Bayern's valuation of Mandzukic turn that link into a dead end.
Although a proven goalscorer, it would be risky to pay such a high fee for an individual who fails to offer a significantly different game to Giroud's.