Just hours after die Welt broke the story that VfL Wolfsburg had almost completed negotiations for the transfer of Mario Mandzukic back to die Wolfe, Kicker is now reporting that VfL board member Stephan Grühsem has said that Mario Mandzukic will not return to play at the Volkswagen Arena.
Speaking to the German paper, Grühsem said "I emphatically deny it. Mario Mandzukic will not return to Wolfsburg". Kicker further reports that there was an exchange of figures with Bayern Munich over the striker and that Wolfsburg has chosen to pursue other options, including specifically Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata.
It's really hard to know where the truth lies in this story. die Welt is a well respected publication while Kicker is just as equal in stature; and they have completely contradictory reports. There's always the off chance that Wolfsburg are playing media games with Bayern Munich and they really are in on Mario Mandzukic. Perhaps it's just the final transfer fee they are negotiating. With respect to that though, what's the point of this behavior? Mario Mandzukic has a multitude of potential suitors, many of whom have far deeper pockets then Wolfsburg. Why would they potentially antagonize Bayern Munich?
On the flip side, Mario Mandzukic is also going to be an expensive piece for any side. For a side like Wolfsburg, with some questionable sustainability and outsized ambitions given their ownership and reliance on Volkswagen, any amount of leverage they can bring to the table probably helps them.
Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of this, though we're rapidly approaching full blown transfer saga territory. Hold onto your butts.