Chelsea lead Arsenal in race to sign Mario Mandzukic

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Chelsea are the standout favourites to sign Mario Mandzukic ahead of Arsenal after holding transfer talks with his agent, reports the Daily Mail.

The agent of the Bayern Munich striker visited London last month and was reportedly set to hold talks with both Arsenal and Chelsea over a summer transfer move. However, the Daily Mail claim that only talks with the latter were held and left all parties encouraged that a summer deal could happen.

Despite leading the scoring charts in the Bundesliga, the Croatian international is set to become surplus to requirements at the Allianz Arena when Robert Lewandowski arrives in the summer.

That has led to growing interest from the Premier League with Arsenal originally thought to be favourites for his signature. Arsenal have struggled to find a genuine replacement for Robin van Persie since his departure to Old Trafford and currently have just one proven striker in the form of Olivier Giroud.

When Giroud has been found wanting, especially against the bigger teams, Arsene Wenger has been left with no other options and the Arsenal manager sees strengthening the Emirates striker force as essential.

But Jose Mourinho is desperate for wholesale changes up front and could see all four of his current strikers leave in the summer. Samuel Eto'o's contract is set to expire in the summer while Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and even Romelu Lukaku could be pushed out the Stamford Bridge exit door.

Mourinho has already moved within touching distance of a deal for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, forcing Arsenal to abandon their pursuit.

Wenger was reportedly ready to switch his full focus to Mandzukic but are now trailing to Chelsea for the second time in the hunt for a new striker.

Chelsea know Mandzukic wants a move to west London but face paying Bayern up to £20m for his services. Mandzukic will also seek assurances over first team football as well as a significant wage rise from his current £80,000-a-week contract.

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