Germany striker Lukas Podolski has been continually linked with January move to Arsenal in the past few weeks.
While there is no denying the Cologne forward’s goalscoring pedigree, do Arsenal really need him and how would he improve them?
Well the answer to first part of that question is yes, they most certainly do need him. The second part is a little more complicated, but we intend to answer it all the same.
Arsenal need him because they have a striker problem, a problem that has already scored 17 goals in all competitions this season.
Robin van Persie is in the form of his life at the moment, which is nicely covering up Arsenal’s striking deficiencies. The Dutchman has a poor injury record and the player closest to him in goals is Theo Walcott, with four.
As can be seen from this statistic, Arsenal do not score a lot outside of their captain and really do not have a viable option to back him up.
It can be argued that he plays at the point of Arsenal’s attack and that he should be the one scoring the vast majority of the goals, but it isn’t healthy for a team to be so reliant on Robin.
The two strikers who deputise for ‘RVP’ are Moroccan international Marouane Chamakh and South Korea captain Ju Young Park. Neither has proved to be an able deputy on the rare occasions they have come in for Van Persie.
The Moroccan will go away on Africa Cup of Nations duty in January – as well as Gervinho – and Arsenal cannot afford to have only Park as replacement.
Although many may argue that a new signing is needed, regardless of where Chamakh is in January.
Lukas Podolski could fit the bill as Arsenal’s perfect forward signing in January, for a number of reasons, not including Gervinho’s absence due to Cote D’Ivoire commitment at the Africa Cup of Nations..
‘Poldi’, as he is called by German fans, has a proven track record in finding the net – scoring 18 times in 48 games for Germany. He is also on a hot streak for Cologne and has scored 9 times in only twelve appearances, despite his side being on a poor run of form.
It is unlikely that Podolski will go anywhere he isn’t guaranteed first team football, what with the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine taking place next summer, but Arsene Wenger can accommodate him into the current system.
Podolski can do the job of central striker and wing forward equally well, making him ideal for any of the three attacking positions at Arsenal. Granted, he is unlikely to make it into the side with the current form of Gervinho, Van Persie and Theo Walcott, but squad rotation is now essential if success is to be achieved.
Podolski has been very successful playing wide in a Germany front three of himself, Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez or Miroslav Klose. His goal record is also impressive for a player who is supposedly a wide man who creates chances.
For Cologne he plays predominantly as a traditional second striker, but often drops back into a wider position when they are in defensive mode. It works the other way as well, as he has started as an orthodox wide player and moved to a more advanced position when his side need a goal.
This tactical versatility could be just what Arsenal need, as current wide players Gervinho and Andrei Arshavin often find defensive concentration somewhat difficult.
It would also mean it more easy to change the team’s approach, should they be chasing a goal. At the moment they invariably call Chamakh off the bench for a defensive player, often this only results in making them more vulnerable at the back.
Some may say that Walcott has pleaded for a central role many times and a Van Persie injury could be his chance. Walcott has never really played that position and it would most likely be too much to ask for him to lead the line.
Podolski has international experience in doing carrying out this role and plays there regularly in the Bundesliga.
Podolski also brings a goal threat that Walcott and Gervinho do not currently possess. The German also has a tendency to shoot on site, something that many Arsenal fans would find refreshing.
The clincher may be the fact that Cologne are not in Europe and so Podolski would be available in the Champions League, which is somewhere he could prove to make a serious difference.