Chelsea prepare £18m bid for Mario Mandzukic

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Chelsea are preparing an £18 million bid for Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic, who has also attracted transfer interest from Arsenal and Atletico Madrid.

The Daily Express reports how the Croatia international has been heavily linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena this summer, amid speculation he's set to lose his place in Pep Guardiola's side.

The imminent arrival of Robert Lewandowski from German rivals Borussia Dortmund has raised doubts about Mandzukic's first-team role with the Bundesliga giants.

Chelsea interest

Blues boss Jose Mourinho has been credited with an interest in bringing the player to Stamford Bridge, in addition to the impending acquisition of Diego Costa, and is ready to pay big money to make the move happen.

The Portuguese coach is overseeing a period of transition in west London, following the high profile departures of club veterans Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole this summer.

Chelsea's attack is an area that strengthening is a top priority after disappointing seasons for the likes of Fernando Torres and Demba Ba.

Period of transition

Samuel Eto'o also left at the end of his one-year deal and Romelu Lukaku is expected to go out on loan again in 2014/15, meaning that even with the capture of Costa there will still be room for Mandzukic in the senior squad.

However, the Blues will face serious competition for the 28-year-old's signature, with Arsene Wenger also mooted as a huge admirer.

The Arsenal manager is also on the lookout for striker reinforcements in an attempt to ease the goalscoring burden on Olivier Giroud at the Emirates Stadium next season.

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Meanwhile, Diego Simeone's search for a successor to Chelsea-bound Costa is still ongoing, and with regular action at the Vicente Calderon almost guaranteed, the Spanish champions could well be the favourites to secure Mandzukic's services.

Despite looking set to lose a number of last season's star players, Atletico Madrid are determined to defend their La Liga crown having worked so hard to win it in 2013/14.

Mandzukic would represent the type of marquee signing to restore faith amongst Los Rojiblancos supporters, as well as giving them an opportunity to get one over fellow suitors Chelsea and Arsenal.

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