Arsenal are back in chase for Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic, as they look to secure a back-up for number one target Mario Balotelli

Premier League club Arsenal have been looking at Croatia and Bayern Munich forward Mario Mandzukic for a while now, but links with the 28 year old fizzled out as the Gunners reportedly made AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli their prime summer target.

Mandzukic is presently at the World Cup with his nation. He missed Croatia’s opening game with Brazil with suspension. On his return to the side, he scored two against a hapless Cameroon.

However, Arsene Wenger obviously wants to keep his options open and have alternatives in mind in case the transfer does not materialize and reports indicate he is eyeing Mandzukic as the possible back-up.

Arsenal will be able to land the Croatian forward for around £15million, which is the price being asked for Mario Balotelli.

Guardiola preferred to use Thomas Mueller and Mario Gotze as a ‘false nine’ and it was evident that Mandzukic was down the pecking order. Mandzukic has told Bayern he wants to leave the club. The Bavarian giants already have an upgrade on the striker as they agreed on the transfer of Robert Lewandwoski. Mandzukic released his statement on the matter which read:

“Bayern is a fantastic club, and indeed it was not until recently that I thought about going – I never thought it would happen like this, but let’s be honest – I do not correspond with the style of game that Guardiola wants to play.

“After the first game with Real Madrid [in the Champions League semi-finals] I definitely realised that no matter what happened I could not be at my best.

“Because of this, I think it is best that we part company.

“I thank the club for offering me a contract extension, and I thank Guardiola who is a great coach and I wish everyone at the club well in future, their fans have always been beautiful with me – but now it’s time for a new challenge.”

The Gunners are expected to spend considerably in the summer and a striker is on top of their agenda. Reports have been circling about them edging closer to the Balotelli deal. But Arsene Wenger wants to have an alternate in mind just in case of the club being unable to land the player. Arsenal only had Olivier as an established striker and it was cited as one of the reasons why they fell short of their Premier League title surge. The Arsenal lineup is filled with quality attacking midfielders and wingers but Arsene Wenger lacked a forward who could compliment Olivier Giroud and take some burden off his shoulders.

Wenger has started acting upon this and as expected, has listed down the strikers he wants his club to get. If reports are to be believed, the two Marios are his prime picks and he is working on both the deals. Arsenal would have to fight off interest from Chelsea and Manchester United, both the EPL rivals, vying for the Croat’s signature. Chelsea want a backup to their summer arrival Diego Costa. Manchester United would have Javier Hernandez probably leaving the club in the summer, and don’t want their squad depth to diminish.