Arsenal star Lukas Podolski has virtually confirmed that his future lies away from the Emirates Stadium, by talking up the possibility of a return to former club Cologne.
According to the Daily Star, which cites Sky Sports Germany, the international star admitted that he could envisage a move back to the Bundesliga in the near future, adding weight to the recent rumours which insist he is set for the chop in north London.
It’s been made apparent via Arsene Wenger’s team selections this campaign that the 29-year-old doesn't rank amongst his priority players, and a lack of game-time is known to be having an adverse effect on Podolski’s happiness.
The powerful left-footer believes that he should be a regular fixture in the starting XI at the club, but the fact he’s continually relegated to the bench is evidence that his coach may think otherwise.
Now, with speculation rife that the January transfer window could present him with the ideal opportunity to seek pastures new, Podolski has fanned the flames of gossip, insisting that once more playing for Cologne is something that he’s looking to achieve before he hangs up his boots.
"I can imagine a transfer to Cologne in the next few years because I’m always attached to the club," he said.
"I have always said that I want to hear this hymn again when walking up the stairs with the number 10 shirt.
"That’s what I dream about and I hope it comes true again."
"That’s what I dream about and I hope it comes true again"
If nothing else it makes his stance clear on the current situation, and gives Wenger food for thought concerning his transfer plans for the upcoming windows. If Podolski, who earns a mooted £100,000-a-week at the club, continues to be frozen out then fans will beg questions as to why he remains on the wage bill, and if the player himself isn’t directly opposed to a departure it may be the best thing for all parties involved.
What’s more a sale to Cologne would all but completely rule out the chance of Wenger living to regret his decision to sell the former Bayern Munich star in the future. The Bundesliga outfit are tidy enough, but the chances of them coming head to head with the Gunners in any scenario other than a friendly are unlikely at best.
Of course the first priority for Wenger will be either finding an adequate replacement or sourcing a young player who could fill Podolski’s boots in years to come. The Frenchman has money at his disposal now that the shackles from the self-funded move to the Emirates have been removed, but it remains to be seen whether or not that will continue to translate into big-money buys or if he’ll resolve to continue with a frugal approach.