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Mario Mandzukic – the answer to Arsenal’s problems?

If Arsene Wenger wants a proven goalscorer, he need look no further than the Bayern Munich man.

With Olivier Giroud, Nicklas Bendtner and now Theo Walcott all injured for Arsenal, it is inevitable that Arsene Wenger will attempt to bring a striker to the Emirates – and there is one name which should be at the very top of his list.

Mario Mandzukic is just about the perfect package as centre-forwards go. The Bayern Munich forward ticks all the boxes for Arsenal; he is a proven goal-scorer, with 50 goals in 91 appearances in Germany for Munich and his previous club, Wolfsburg.

Standing at an imposing 6ft 2in, he was the Croatian footballer of the year in 2012, and has scored some big, big goals, most notably against Bayern’s rivals Borussia Dortmund in last season’s Champions League final at Wembley. Earlier in the competition, he was on target against the Gunners earlier in the competition, a 3-1 win at the Emirates.

He is also more than capable of playing on his own up front, as he would do at Arsenal, operating at the head of Pep Guardiola’s 4-1-4-1 formation this season. He has already racked up 14 goals, eight of which have come in the last 13 games.

And what’s more, he is understood to be available. If not in January, then certainly at the end of the season. That is thanks to the impending move from of Robert Lewandowski, who will join Bayern from Dortmund at the end of the season.

Nor is his price-tag likely to break Arsenal’s bank; Mandzukic is estimated to be worth around 13 million euros.

Wenger has already revealed that he had a look at Lewandowski earlier in the season, before the striker sealed his anticipated move to Munich, and the Arsenal manager is already well aware of Mandzukic’s ability.

On a possible transfer, Wenger said: “Lewandowski is at Dortmund until the end of the season and they (Bayern) will not sell Mandzukic now – maybe at the end of the season.”

The only problem for Wenger may be the timing of a move. He is unlikely to be able to prize Mandzukic away from Munich before the end of the season, and the Arsenal manager may look elsewhere for a short-term replacement. But come the summer, it would be a major surprise if he does not step up his interest in Mandzukic.

images: © Matt and Kim Rudge, © wonker

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