Lukas Podolski quashes exit rumours

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Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has declared that he never had any intention of leaving the Emirates last month despite persistent rumours of a Bundesliga return, telling Bild that Arsene Wenger offered him assurances that there was no truth to speculation of a surprise Gunners exit.

Podolski was mentioned in connection with Arsenal's pursuit of long-term transfer target Julian Draxler throughout January as a makeweight in a £35m switch, but that mooted swap deal failed to materialise.

The German international has found a consistent starting place difficult to come by this season either side of a spell on the sidelines, spending four months out with a torn hamstring.

With the transfer window now firmly slammed shut Podolski has made it clear he never had any intention of leaving Arsenal, but did share regrets over a premature exit from German giants Bayern Munich in 2009.

He told Bild: "That was a myth. There was absolutely no truth to it. The coach told me as such, and I knew there was no truth in it.

"I believe that if Jupp Heynckes had arrived one or two weeks earlier in 2009, I would probably still be at Bayern now.

"He was desperate to keep me. From a purely sporting perspective, returning to Cologne was certainly not very helpful."

The 28-year-old has three goals in eight Premier League games this season but has yet to complete 90 minutes, but did score a clinical brace in last month's FA Cup clash against Coventry City.

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Lukas Podolski
Premier League

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