Mario Mandžukić will not play for Bayern Munich on Saturday, when the Bundesliga champions face off against second-place Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal final.
Pep Guardiola confirmed the forward’s absence, but refused to speak about why he had not been included in the squad. The Bayern manager said, “He is capable of playing, but that is my decision [to leave him out]. That’s all.”
But, according to Bild, a hot source for Bundesliga gossip, there’s more to the story. Apparently, when Mandžukić left Munich to join up with Croatia in preparation for the World Cup, Guardiola wished him good luck at his new club.
Which new club would that be? Well, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal are all reported to be interested in securing the Croatian. With his 18 goals in 30 appearances, he’s probably not a bad pickup.
Of course, it’s rumored that the man Chelsea truly lust after is Diego Costa. But with Samuel Eto’o’s age, and Fernando Torres being, well, Fernando Torres, what’s to stop the Blues from picking up more than one striker this season?
As for Arsenal, their fans would be despondent if yet another transfer window closed without a forward being added to their ranks. With the Gunners’ constant injury concerns and lack of depth up top, snapping up Mandžukić would serve them well.
Then there’s United. Robin van Persie is made of glass. Wayne Rooney struggled with his own set of injuries this season. Danny Welbeck can’t do it all on his own, and they’re not going to rely on James Wilson already. Besides, Louis van Gaal has already alluded to raiding the Bundesliga to start his shopping spree.