Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola has dropped Mario Mandzukic from his squad for this weekend’s German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund - fuelling speculation that the 27-year-old is poised to leave the Allianz Arena for Chelsea.
Reports suggest Guardiola has fallen out with the Croatia international - although the former Barcelona coach told reporters it is due to “technical reasons” why Mandzukic will not be appearing at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Saturday night.
“He would have been able to play. But it is my decision and that’s it,” Guardiola added.
Mandzukic is believed to be on the verge of securing a move to Stamford Bridge as part of a multi-million pound transfer to take Brazil international David Luiz in the opposite direction. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has little need for Luiz - who has also been linked with Barcelona - following the acquisitions of Nemanja Matic and Kurt Zouma, plus the fine form of veteran John Terry and the emergence of 21-year-old Tomas Kalas.
But the Portuguese coach certainly has a need for a new striker, with Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku all in danger of being moved on this summer. Chelsea have already struck a £32m deal to sign Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, while the signing of Mandzukic, who has scored 23 goals in 46 appearances for club and country this season, would be another significant coup.
Guardiola, meanwhile, has secured the services of Dortmund’s prolific striker Robert Lewandowski - leaving Mandzukic, a reported target for Arsenal as well as Chelsea, searching for a new club. And it now seems a move to west London will happen sooner rather than later.
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