Arsenal striker target 'set for €18m Atletico move' - is there time for Wenger to hijack the bid?

Mario Mandzukic Bayern

Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic - a reported target for Arsenal - is on the verge of signing for Atletico Madrid, according to Croatian media.

Atletico had a stunning season under Diego Simeone, clinching the La Liga title for the first time in nearly 20 years, before losing in the Champions League final to city rivals Real Madrid. Yet with great success comes interest from other clubs, and that has certainly rung true this summer.

Chelsea are closing in on the captures of left back Filipe Luis and midfielder Tiago Mendes, whilst they've already agreed a deal to snap up striker Diego Costa - three important players for Simeone's men. The departure of Costa is arguably most important, given that he hit 35 goals in all competitions last summer.

His £32m move to Stamford Bridge means Atletico have a huge hole to fill, but they have money to sign someone to fill it - and reports in Croatia suggest that Mandzukic is set to make the move to the Spanish capital to replace Costa.

The Croatian international has been prolific in the last two seasons, but a bust-up with Bayern boss Pep Guardiola and the arrival of Roberto Lewandowski at the Allianz Arena has led to speculation that the 28-year-old would be sold this summer, with Arsenal reportedly interested in signing him to upgrade on Olivier Giroud.

Yet the reports today suggest that Mandzukic is nearing the move to Atletico, so is there time to for Wenger to hijack the bid?

€18m is just over £14m - well within Arsenal's budget. Mandzukic's aerial prowess and goalscoring ability would be much needed in the Gunners' attack having seen Giroud struggle to cope with the season-long workload on his own, and until a deal is signed, sealed and delivered with the La Liga champions, then Wenger must try to swoop in at the 11th hour.

Arsenal may not have a league title or European success to tempt Mandzukic with, but international team mate Eduardo would certainly recommend a move to the Emirates Stadium. It's situations like these where the biggest clubs manage to pull of a deal - just look at Chelsea signing Willian from under Spurs' nose last summer - and in order to prove that they can compete with the best, Wenger must find his nasty streak and try to tempt Mandzukic to North London.

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