Mario Mandzukic may snub Champions League play for his old club

Clive Brunskill

According to die Welt, Mario Mandzukic is close to swapping Bayern red for Wolfsburg green.

According to a report published by die Welt, Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic will be returning to VfL Wolfsburg, the club from which he joined Bayern Munich in the summer of 2013 on a €13M transfer. Negotiations between Bayern Munich and VfL Wolfsburg are at an advanced stage with only some final details left to iron out. While die Welt have no reported transfer fee associated with the report, they do note his market value to be somewhere in the range of €30M.

In combination with both Ivica Olic and Ivan Perisic, his fellow Croatian internationals, Mario Mandzukic would slot into a highly formidable Wolfsburg attack that also includes Kevin de Bruyne and Maxi Arnold. Mario Mandzukic would also be the second high profile Bayern Munich player to leave for the greener pastures of Wolfsburg, just one year after Luiz Gustavo departed the club amidst concerns over playing time ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

It's certainly would be an interesting career choice for the striker as Wolfsburg just missed qualification for the 2014/2015 UEFA Champions League, finishing just one point behind Bayer Leverkusen, settling for Europa League competition instead. While the Europa League is certainly a step down for a man striker who was reportedly being courted by the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, and Juventus, there's a certain amount of swagger to the move. This would be the move that puts Wolfsburg over the top with regards to their annual fight for the Champions League spots with Leverkusen and Schalke. In some ways, Mandzukic would be a legend for Wolfsburg.

While there is no doubt that Mario Mandzukic will be leaving, given his much publicized spats with Pep Guardiola, this would certainly be a very interesting career move and not one you see from most 28-year-olds. However, at Wolfsburg, Mario Mandzukic isn't just a big fish in a small pond; he's the king of the pond. That may just be all that he wants.

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