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Derby County hero: Arsenal target 'one of the best in the world'

Mario Mandzukic Bayern

Former Croatia manager Igor Stimac has tipped Mario Mandzukic as one of the very top strikers in the world.

Igor Stimac, the former Derby County defender, has backed Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic as one of the 'top three' strikers in the world, and placed the blame at the feet of Pep Guardiola for his availability.

Talking to talkSPORT, the iconic Croatian defender said: 'Mandzukic is definitely in the top three strikers in the world at the moment. Defensively and offensively he is an amazing player.

'It's not surprising Pep Guardiola didn't like Mario Mandzukic, he doesn't know a lot about centre forwards.' 

Stimac, who resigned as Croatia manager despite being on the brink of World Cup finals qualification, worked intensely with the Bayern striker and will, or should, know all about the player's quality and what he could bring to the team he signs for. Which, according to reports, is most likely to be Arsenal, although Chelsea are reportedly interested too. 

The Metro claim the Arsenal manager was going to use his position as a World Cup television pundit to run the rule over Arsenal targets Mario Mandzukic, Karim Benzema and Mario Balotelli. 

In the past two seasons, the Croatian has scored 48 goals for Bayern Munich, a tally which has put his name in amongst the best in the world. Even, to some critics, better than his earmarked replacement at the German club Robert Lewandowski. 

In fact, going on last seasons statistics, the Croatian outscored Frenchman Olivier Giroud in the two major competitions despite starting 14 less games. 

The numbers do indicate Mandzukic would be an improvement on the Giroud, but are the statistics correct? 

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