Manchester City to snatch Atletico Madrid attacker Mario Mandzukic
Manchester City, 9/4 with Coral to retain the Premier League title, could solve their striker crisis by snapping up Atletico Madrid frontman Mario Mandzukic in the winter window.
Manuel Pellegrini is currently without top Premier League scorer Sergio Aguero, who is expected to be sidelined until the end of January.
Back-up options Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic have also now joined the Argentina attacker on the treatment table, leaving City with a conundrum.
The Sky Blues are reportedly willing to splash the cash in January, as they continue to chase league leaders Chelsea, with Mandzukic rumoured to be on their radar.
City had little option but to play midfielder James Milner up top in their victory over Crystal Palace last time out, but will be keen to find an affordable forward in the January sales.
With David Silva and Yaya Toure providing the goals, the Citizens have not yet struggled in Aguero’s absence, but the Mancunian men have often relied on their superstar striker to pull them through crunch clashes.
One slip up now could be costly and see rivals Chelsea steam ahead and steal their Premier League crown.
Atleti marksman Mandzukic could be a perfect choice to lead the line for the Etihad outfit, having spent two seasons battling for Bundesliga and Champions League titles with Bayern Munich before his summer switch.
The 6ft 3in Croatia international is used to handling the pressure of big games, and his power and willingness to press from the front could provide a different dimension to Pellegrini’s team.
A large physical presence known for tormenting defences, the prolific poacher would be a perfect foil for Aguero, but his potential arrival would likely signal the end of Dzeko’s stint with City.
Similar in style and physique, Bosnia and Herzegovina frontman Dzeko has already struggled to cement a spot in the starting XI, and is primarily used as an impact substitute or partner for Aguero in tough away games.
Pellegrini was also reportedly keen on Newcastle hitman Papiss Cisse, but the Magpies’ supposed £35m valuation is believed to have cooled City’s interest.
Spanish capital club Atleti signed Mandzukic, 28, to fill Diego Costa’s shoes and are also fighting on three fronts, so should be reluctant to sell so soon after singing the striker.
The ex-Bayern star will not come cheap, but Diego Simeone’s side are rumoured to be in financial difficulties, which could sway any deal in the Citizen’s favour.
Whether the Sky Blues, 14/1 to win the Champions League, can convince Atleti to cash in or not, it appears as though Pellegrini will certainly be in the market for a new marksman.