Chelsea and Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their alleged pursuit of Mario Mandzukic following reports the Bayern Munich striker is close to completing a £14.5 million transfer to Atletico Madrid.
Mandzukic has been heavily linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena for some time, ever since the Bundesliga giants reached a pre-contract agreement with Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski.
The Polish talisman is expected to replace Mandzukic at the focal point of Pep Guardiola's attack next season, prompting the 28-year-old to push for a summer exit in order to guarantee more regular first-team football.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of Mandzukic, and was believed to be keen to bring the player to the Emirates Stadium to provide competition for Olivier Giroud next term.
Jose Mourinho was also rumoured to be keeping tabs on Mandzukic's situation in Germany, and considered an attempt to lure him to Stamford Bridge, even after securing the services of Atletico Madrid marksman Diego Costa.
As it turns out, Mandzukic was identified as the man to replace Chelsea-bound Costa at the Vicente Calderon, with Diego Simeone eager to add the talisman to his ranks ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.
Mandzukic netted 48 goals in 88 appearances for Bayern Munich, and will attempt to help Atletico Madrid retain their La Liga title next season, hopefully with the help of another striker reinforcement that is being lined up over the summer.
Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku and Manchester City's Alvaro Negredo are the additional names believed to be on Simeone's wish-list, but it remains to be seen whether they'll succeed with planned negotiations before the transfer window closes.
Juventus and Zenit St Petersburg joined Arsenal and Chelsea on the list of other suitors reportedly courting Mandzukic, but each club looks set to be left disappointed with an Atletico Madrid announcement expected in the next hours.
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