Finally, some welcome transfer news could be around the corner for Atletico Madrid supporters, after a fairly glum week practically saw the club lose last season's top scorer Diego Costa and midfield lynchpin Tiago to Chelsea, with Filipe Luis also pushing for a move to Stamford Bridge.
Coupled with the loss of Thibaut Courtois, who's loan deal expired, and David Villa, it was starting to look like Diego Simeone's title winning side was on the verge of deconstruction. Two relatively low-key signings have joined Atletico in the form of Guilherme Siqueira, presumably a replacement for Luis, and Ángel Correa, although the move was complicated by the discovery of a heart defect in his medical.
However, Simeone could be about to complete a blockbuster signing, if respected German paper Bild are to be believed.
Major Transfer Coup
Bild are reporting that Diego Simeone is close to agreeing a deal for Bayern Munich and Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic. The 28-year-old is surplus to requirements at the Allianz Arena, following the signing of Robert Lewandowski on a free-transfer, and, although Pep Guardiola would like to keep the Croatian international, he also understands that a forward of his calibre needs to be playing regular first-team football.
Atletico have reportedly won the battle for his signature, with a £17.5million deal set to be completed in the following days.
Mandzukic would be an ideal replacement for Diego Costa. Both thrive in and around the box, using physicality to bully their way into goalscoring positions. Mandzukic boasted a higher amount of aerial duels won per game last season, prevailing in an average of three aerial duels, compared to Costa's 1.3.
His style wasn't suited to Guardiola's Munich side, but despite that he managed 21 goals and six assists in all competitions last season. Mandzukic outshone Costa in the World Cup, scoring two goals, although in fairness to Costa he is both new to the Spanish style of play, and struggling with a lingering hamstring injury.
Simeone can rely on Mandzukic to carry the burden of goalscoring next season, as he has proved time and time again that he is a dependable striker. Since joining the Bundesliga in 2010, Mandzukic has scored 53 goals in 88 starts for Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich, collecting the Croatian Footballer of the Year in both 2012 and 2013.
Perfect for all parties involved
This move is perfect for both parties. Mandzukic is joining a club were he will be the undisputed leader of the attack, unlike at Bayern, whilst Atlético will be signing a proven goalscorer in his prime, at a very reasonable transfer fee. From a Bayern perspective, they are swapping Mandzukic for Lewandowski, and gaining £17.5 million in the process, which is a fantastic bit of business.
If Mandzukic hits the ground running, Atlético supporters may well have a new striker to idolise.
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