Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has revealed that he turned down a summer return to the Bundesliga after getting assurances from Gunners boss Arsene Wenger over his future, but that transfer snub wasn't down to a lack of attractive offers from across the continent.
Podolski spent the final weeks of the transfer window being linked with a string of potential suitors including Juventus, Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen, although quite surprisingly the clinical forward and his reported £100,000-a-week pay packet stayed at the Emirates to fight for his place.
The 29-year-old took the chance to clarify widespread speculation over his future following Germany's 4-2 defeat to Argentina last night, telling Bild that Wenger made it clear he will rely on the clinical finisher to fire at crucial junctures this season.
Poldi persuaded to stay put
In quotes translated by Sport Witness the former Bayern Munich flop revealed: "There wasn't a lack of offers. There were some requests from abroad (outside of Germany) - and also from the Bundesliga. But it would be difficult for me as a Cologne fan to play for another club in Germany.
"In addition I had a very good conversation with manager Arsene Wenger. He stressed that he relies on me and my qualities."
Can Podolski force his way into Wenger's starting XI
An extended break following World Cup triumph has somewhat scuppered Podokski's attempts to build on a brilliant finish to last season with Arsenal, which saw the wide forward smash home five goals in eight Premier League games.
Podolski did return to feature for the first time this season against Leicester City on Sunday, but that 14-minute cameo combined with just under an hour against Argentina last night means he's still someway behind his Arsenal colleagues in terms of match fitness.
Wenger clearly still views Podolski's ability to finish ruthlessly as vital to his plans despite spending £16m on Danny Welbeck earlier this week, but that call would surely have been far more difficult if Olivier Giroud wasn't laid low recovering from surgery on a broken left food.
Throughout two full seasons at Arsenal the 117-cap international has struggled to dislodge Santi Cazorla and start in his favoured wide-left role on a weekly basis, a challenge that remains this term and is complicated by Wenger's penchant for using Mesut Ozil in the same role.
Regular time spent sat on the subs bench will surely result in Podolski's future being under scrutiny again when the transfer window reopens in January, but for the next four months at least Arsenal fans can rest easy that something of a cult hero will still be waxing lyrical about the club on social media between matches and fighting to play on a consistent basis.
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