Mario Mandzukic appears to be on his way out of Bayern Munich after the club’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge raised doubts on whether he has the mentality to compete for a place in the starting lineup.
The 27-year-old striker joined the German giants from Wolfsburg in the summer of 2012 and has done nothing wrong in the past two years. Last season, the Croatia international scored 15 goals in just 22 Bundesliga starts, thrice in the Champions League and as many in the DFB-Pokal, as Bayern won an historic treble.
This term Mandzukic has repeated his success of his debut season at the Allianz Arena, scoring 18 goals and providing four assists in only 21 league starts, while netting thrice in the Champions League. The former Dinamo Zagreb man was left out of Bayern’s squad for Saturday’s DFB-Pokal final against Borussia Dortmund despite scoring four goals in the competition in what looks like a sign that he may be on his way out of Bayern.
The reason for Mandzukic’s likely exit is the arrival of Robert Lewandowski, who has agreed to join Pep Guardiola’s side on a free transfer after his contract with Dortmund runs out next month. The Poland international is arguably the best striker in the Bundesliga and many believe that the 25-year-old is an upgrade on Mandzukic, as he is more comfortable on the ball and is more clinical.
One of the clubs reportedly interested in the former NK Zagreb striker is Chelsea, whose manager Jose Mourinho has lamented throughout the 2013-14 season that he does not have a striker to his taste. With Samuel Eto’o set to leave, only Demba Ba and Fernando Torres will be the two centre-forwards in the Blues squad (although Romelu Lukaku will still be on their books). Neither has done exceptionally well this campaign, and there is no doubt that Mourinho wants to sign a world-class goalscorer for next season.
That striker could be Mandzukic, as Bayern CEO Rummenigge has now raised doubts on whether the 27-year-old has the mentality to fight for a place in the starting lineup.
‘If Mario stays, then it won't be easy for him because a world-class player is joining us’, he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. ‘The question is whether he wants to face this competition or rather go to another club. We will talk openly and fairly about everything. The issue is open'.
The way that Bayern have played this season – and will do in 2014-15 – does not necessarily require an out-and-out striker; Mario Gotze can play as the ‘false’ number nine under Guardiola.
This means that Bayern do not exactly need both Mandzukic and Lewandowski in the squad; the latter will be the first choice, meaning that the Croatian will have to find a new club if he wants to play regular football.
And that club could be Chelsea.