The moment Bayern decided to pursue their interest in former Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski last summer and to the point that he signed a pre-contract agreement with Bayern during the winter window, I knew Mandzukic’s days at the Allianz Arena were numbered and it was only a matter of time before he left. All I didn’t know was how he was going to go, whether on good and understanding terms with the Bayern hierarchy but by burning the bridges. The fact known to football pundits was that Mandzukic won’t want to play back-up to incoming Polish striker Robert Lewandowski.
In the course of last season, the Croatian striker had a bust-up with Bayern Spanish manager Pep Guardiola and consequently left out of the Bayern team that played the German Cup final. It seems things have degenerated further and there seems no way back for Mandzukic at Bayern.
German daily newspaper Bild has reported the story this way claiming there is “misunderstanding” between the coach and the player. Bild claims that Mandzukic has “refused to shake hands” with Guardiola, he “was angry”, there is an obvious “dislike” for the coach and it is having a detrimental impact on the rest of the Bayern squad. Bild conclude: “The striker has no future at Bayern”.
This development is a blessing in disguise for Arsenal. The Gunners are in the market for a proven striker and Mandzukic is without doubt one. With the strained relationship with Guardiola, the former Barca boss would be out to offload him even if it means selling below his market value and that is good news for Arsenal as that means the Gunners could land a very good striker on the cheap.
But Arsenal cannot afford to expect that getting Mandzukic would be a stroll in the park as other Premier League rivals like Manchester United and Chelsea are also looking for striking reinforcements. Hence, if we want to win the race for his signature we have to move fast enough to agree personal terms with him and also agree a fee with Bayern. Wenger needs to use his good relationship with Guardiola to seal the deal.
Arsenal also have an edge in the sense that Mandzukic knows his position in the first team is almost certain at Arsenal as the Gunners have just one experienced striker unlike Manchester United that have two top strikers in Rooney and Van Persie and Chelsea that are already keen on Diego Costa and he might end up battling the Spaniard for a place in the first team.