â€œI am thinking about signing a striker but I must confess I am not close to doing anything because I do not find a player who can convince me.â€ – Arsene Wenger.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long after The Professor admitted that he is on the hunt for a new striker following injuries to Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner, that the Gunners have been linked with a whole host of possible replacements. Ignoring the fact that a quiet transfer period is expected, the press have latched onto any rumour which is out there and turned it into a full transfer saga.
Accordingly, the latest striker that Arsenal have apparently been watching is Mario Mandzukic, a 23-year-old Croatian who plays for Dinamo Zagreb.
Mandzukic began his career with Marsonia. After banging in 14 goals in just 23 appearances the striker moved to NK Zagreb. His development continued under the watchful eye of Miroslav Blazevic. In two seasons with the club the striker scored 14 league goals in 51 appearances earning him a 1.3 million Euro move to NKâ€™s city rivals Dinamo
Mandzukic ironically arrived to replace the Cro-zillian striker Eduardo who had moved to Arsenal. Since joining the club he has been the leagueâ€™s top scorer and won both the Croatian League and Cup twice. In all he has bagged 34 goals in 65 games – an amazing feat considering he doesnâ€™t take penalties for Dinamo.
The 6 ft 1 striker possess excellent aerial ability which is something Arsenal lack at present. Mandzukic makes himself available through working the channels, and he especially likes to exploit the space between the right back and central defender where he can cut back onto his right foot.
That said, although the Croat is predominantly right-footed, he will use his left should a chance present itself. He is not a player who tally too many goals from outside the area, but he is an excellent worker of space inside the 18 yard box.
One asset that the Croat lacks, though, is pace, which is often a pre-requisite for most strikers that Wenger buys.
Nevertheless, the striker is considered a hot prospect in Europe. Mandzukic was expected to move to Werder Bremen but reports in the German and Croatian media suggested that the deal has fell through due to the playerâ€™s price-tag thought to be 15 million Euros.
With Arsenal linked with almost every striker who may be available, this transfer story is unlikely to culminate in a move for the Croatian. His lack of pace is also a major concern and we do not expect to see him wearing the red and white shirt any time soon.
Video evidence of Mario Mandzukic can be seen here.