Mario Mandzukic has emerged as Arsenal’s principal centre-forward target after the Gunners admitted defeat to Chelsea in their pursuit of Diego Costa.
Arsene Wenger showed an interest in Costa in January but baulked at both the price — thought to be in excess of £37million — and Atletico Madrid’s stern reluctance to allow their star player to leave with the club fighting for the title and thriving in the Champions League.
Standard Sport understands Arsenal have made a fresh enquiry only to be told that the forward is expected to move to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season. Indeed, insiders believe Costa’s move to Chelsea is virtually a done deal.
The injury sustained by Costa, who suffered a deep cut to his leg in colliding with a post as he scored his side’s second goal in the 2-0 weekend win at Getafe, is unlikely to disrupt Chelsea’s transfer plans this summer.
Arsenal are far more optimistic, however, about their chances of securing the signature of Croatia international Mandzukic, in whom they have shown considerable interest.