Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic has told club officials that he wants to leave the Bundesliga champions this summer, alerting some of Europe’s top clubs to his availability according to the Daily Mail.
The Croatian hit man has enjoyed an excellent time in Munich since his £12m move from fellow Bundesliga outfit Vfl Wolfsburg back in 2012, scoring 21 goals in 39 games in all competitions in his first season as Jupp Heynckes side won a historic treble culminating in victory over rivals Borussia Dortmund, a game in which Mandzukic opened the scoring.
The 28-year-old striker followed that impressive season off with an even better record of 26 goals in 48 games last campaign including top the clubs scoring charts with 18 in the Bundesliga as Bayern romped to the title in record time under new coach Pep Guardiola.
Despite such impressive performances, Mandzukic has become unhappy under Guardiola’s possession style of football feeling that a more direct approach would be better suited to his own game and feels it is time for him to move on.
Mandzukic is likely to find playing time less easy to come by at the Allianz Arena next season with the impending arrival of Borussia Dortmund striker and Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski. 25-year-old Lewandowski arrives on a free transfer having been identified by Guardiola as his top target and the Pole is set to be first choice under the Spaniard leaving Mandzukic relegated to the bench.
Relations between the Croatian and the Spaniard appear to have broken down with reports of a bust up between the pair following Guardiola’s decision to leave his leading scorer out of the squad for the DFB Pokal final victory over BVB and Mandzukic has made it clear that his future lies away from the Allianz Arena:
“I met Karl Heinz Rummenigge (Bayern chairman) before the cup final and told him I wanted to leave the club,” Mandzukic told Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti.
“I've had a fantastic time at Bayern. It's a great club and I never thought I'd want to leave, and especially not at this point in time.”
“But, let's be honest, I cannot play to my strengths under Guardiola's style - no matter how hard I try.”
“'I realised that after the 1-0 defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg and, that being the case, it's best for all parties that we go our separate ways.”
“Guardiola is an outstanding coach and I wish him and everyone else at the club all the best in the future.”
“Bayern and the club's fans will remain the best and most emotional chapter in my career.”
"It's time for a fresh challenge but don't insist because I have nothing to say. The public will be informed when the time comes, right now I am focused solely on the World Cup."
The availability of the Croatian striker has alerted a whole host of clubs across Europe, especially within the Premier League with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all said to be interested in the prolific marksman.
Arsenal have been looking to bolster their forward line and provide options to support Olivier Giroud who was heavily relied upon to lead the line at Emirates Stadium last season whilst Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is thought to be keen on the Croatian to reinvigorate his misfiring strike force and may still move for the 28-year-old despite being close to capturing Diego Costa from Athletico Madrid.
Interest from of United seems less likely however with Robin van Persie set to be the number one choice under new boss Louis van Gaal and the Dutchman has other transfer priorities with an overhaul needed in midfield and defence.
Even so, it appears there will be a clamour for the 28-year-old who will be hoping to impress as part of Croatia’s World Cup effort and well and truly place himself in the shop window.
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