Thursday 25 December 2014

Arsenal turn attention to Mario Mandzukic with Diego Costa set for Chelsea

James Olley

Published 15/04/2014 | 20:55

TURIN, ITALY - APRIL 10:  Mario Mandzukic (L) of Munich celebrates scoring the opening goal with his team mate David Alaba during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg match between Juventus and FC Bayern Muenchen at Juventus Stadium on April 10, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Mario Mandzukic and team mate David Alaba

Arsenal have made Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic their top summer target.

The Gunners have been forced to turn their attention to the Croatian international having seen their hopes of signing Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa snuffed out.

Arsene Wenger was keen on bringing Costa to the Emirates in January but the deal failed to materialise due to a combination of the Brazilian-turned-Spaniard's price tag - in the region of £37m - and Atletico's reluctance to let him leave midway through a season which could yield both La Liga and the Champions League.

Arsenal are understood to have made a fresh inquiry about the 25-year-old according to the Evening Standard, however insiders have indicated Costa is expected to join Chelsea in the summer instead, with a deal with the Blues virtually done.

Mandzukic certainly represents a quality alternative to Costa with the 27-year-old having played an integral role in Bayern Munich's return to dominance both on the domestic front and in Europe.

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Since joining from Wolfsburg in the summer of 2012, Bayern won an historic treble last term, have added another Bundesliga this season and could win a further two trophies, including the Champions League once again. Mandzukic has scored 17 goals in 28 Bundesliga games this term and netted 15 in 24 appearances last season.

Despite such a strong goal return, with Roberto Lewandowski joining this summer, Mandzukic has been earmarked as the one to make way to accommodate the Polish striker. The Croat's current deal expires in the summer of 2016 and he's thought to currently earn £56,000-a-week.

Arsenal are desperate for a new striker with Wenger over reliant on Olivier Giroud this season. The failure to sign a back-up for their French forward in January has been cited as a reason for the Gunner's faltering end to the season.

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