Mario Mandzukic has made it pretty clear that he is going to leave Bayern Munich.
The Croatia international joined the German giants from Wolfsburg in the summer of 2012 and has been hugely successful. The 28-year-old played a crucial role in Bayern winning an historic treble in 2012-13 and last season he helped the Bavarian outfit clinch the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal.
However, Mandzukic is not needed by Bayern anymore. Having struggled to adapt to coach Pep Guardiola’s system in the 2013-14 campaign, he will also have to compete with Robert Lewandowski for a place in the starting lineup next season.
The Poland international has joined Bayern on a free transfer after running down his contract at Borussia Dortmund. The 25-year-old is believed by Bayern officials to be an upgrade on Mandzukic: he is younger, a better goalscorer and his all-round game is more suited to Guardiola's style of football.
All this means that Mandzukic is on the transfer market, and the former Lech Poznan man himself made it clear in an interview with Sportske Novosti.
‘Thanks to the club who offered a contract extension, thanks to Guardiola, who is a great coach, and I wish everyone all the best for the future’, he said. ‘Bayern and their fans will always be the most beautiful and most emotional story of my career. The time has come for new challenges’.
Mandzukic did not reveal where he will play next season, but it looks likely that he will leave Germany. And Arsenal should sign him because they will get a striker with a ‘winning mentality’ at a cheap price.
The fact that Mandzukic has said that he will leave means that his price in the market will drop. It does not mean that Bayern will sell him for £1 million, but they are likely to be willing to let him go for less than his Transfermarket.co.uk valuation of £26.4m. The negotiating power is now clearly in the hands of the clubs who want to sign him as everyone knows that he wants to leave.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is well known for making deals on the cheap. He does not always get it right, but this time he could just hit the jackpot.
If the Gunners can convince Mandzukic and agree terms with him, then they will find it much easier to negotiate with Bayern. It will suit Wenger, as he will not have to spend £30m or £40m for a proven goalscorer and he will still get a Champions League winner.
Chelsea are reported to be interested in Mandzukic as they want to have an experienced forward alongside Diego Costa, who is said to be close to joining the Blues from Atletico Madrid. However, will the Croatian be happy playing second fiddle to the Spain international?
Remember, one of the reasons he wants to leave Bayern is because of the competition he will face from Lewandowski. However, Arsenal need to hurry if they want to reinforce their strikerforce with the Bayern man for next season.
Or maybe it is too late for Arsenal. Perhaps Mandzukic has already decided which club he will join after the World Cup.