Arsenal to rival Chelsea for Mario Mandzukic

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Football News

Arsene Wenger will look to tie up a deal for a new Arsenal striker during his trip to Brazil to cover the World Cup for French TV.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Wenger has identified three World Cup strikers - Chelsea target Mario Mandzukic, Mario Balotelli and Karim Benzema - and he intends to run the rule over each during the group stages.

Bayern Munich forward Mandzukic is his top target, and the Croatian international is reportedly available after Pep Guardiola granted him permission to look for a new club.

But Wenger will face competition from Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho keen to add to his attacking options this summer. A £32m deal to bring Diego Costa to Stamford Bridge is close to completion but Mourinho is also looking at Mandzukic as well.

Arsenal would be able to offer the Croatian what amounts to guaranteed first-team football, whereas that is much less likely at Chelsea if they sign Diego Costa as well.

Wenger is also thought to be interested in re-signing Carlos Vela from Real Sociedad but the former-Arsenal youngster is not at the World Cup.

The Arsenal boss is based in Sao Paulo at the moment, where Croatia are set to open their World Cup campaign against hosts Brazil this evening. Unfortunately for Wenger, Mandzukic is suspended for the match against Brazil following his red card in the 2-0 playoff win over Iceland last November. 

It's encouraging for Arsenal that Wenger is targeting a striker, as the Gunners are in desperate need of reinforcements up front if they want to improve on last season's league finish.

Olivier Giroud cannot be relied upon for a whole season, and Mandzukic would actually provide stiff competition for places - something the Frenchman has not had to deal with so far at the Emirates Stadium.

Of the three strikers Wenger is currently watching, the Croatian looks like the best bet. He's available, good value at £19m and a proven goalscorer at Champions League level.

Balotelli is talented but brings obvious risks while Karim Benzema would also be an excellent addition, but would no doubt cost a lot more in wages and transfer fee.

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