Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski must consider leaving north London in January if he continues to be used sparingly by Arsene Wenger, according to Germany's general manager Oliver Bierhoff.
The 29-year-old World Cup winner has endured a frustrating start to the 2014/15 campaign at the Emirates Stadium after making just three substitute appearances in the Premier League.
Podolski's only start this term came in the Gunners' 2-1 defeat against Southampton in the Capital One Cup third round last month, and Bierhoff believes that something has to give or else the £100,000-a-week star will fall out of favour with the national team.
Oliver Bierhoff quote:
"He is a unique lad, and he's an important part of our squad, not only on the pitch," the German legend was quoted by ESPN telling a news conference on Wednesday.
"And I can understand that when he is struggling for minutes, he considers his future because he wants to play football.
"I would advise him to seek talks with the coach [Arsene Wenger], and to find a solution which fits both sides.
"I hope that, should he make a switch, his path will lead him to a club that will give him continuity."
Podolski was heavily linked with a move away from Arsenal during the summer, with a host of top European clubs reportedly interested in acquiring his services. But, after Olivier Giroud suffered an injury against Everton - in only the second game of the season - that will sideline him until 2015, the former Cologne star's chances of a prospective exit were quashed.
Giroud's setback looked like handing Podolski an opportunity for more regular action, until Wenger completed the £16 million deadline day signing of Danny Welbeck from Manchester United, pushing the likeable German back down the first-team pecking order.
Welbeck has made a positive start to life as an Arsenal player too, netting a hat-trick in the Champions League against Galatasaray, causing further irritation to the out-of-favour front-man.
Last week Podolski intimated that he is weighing up his future in an interview with German TV station RTL, as the vastly experienced international star looks to protect his place in the national team fold.
Lukas Podolski quote:
"I love competition. And when I don't have that competition every weekend, there has to be a change," he said. "We'll see about [a possible transfer in January]. But I have to at least give it a thought."
Joachim Low has so far kept faith in Podolski despite his recent struggles at Arsenal, and called him up for Germany's Euro 2016 qualifiers against Poland and the Republic of Ireland. However - like Bierhoff - he'll be keen for the player to find some sort of resolution to the situation he currently finds himself in.
It remains to be seen whether the Gunners will be open to letting the fans' favourite leave, but should an acceptable offer be received when the transfer window reopens at the turn of the year then it's difficult to imagine Wenger standing in the player's way.
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