Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has been the subject of a transfer enquiry from Serie A giants Inter Milan, who are increasingly confident that they can persuade the German international that he needs to leave the Emirates in January to save his stagnating career.
Podolski has not made a single start in the Premier League for Arsenal so far this season, with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger clearly not convinced that a ruthless finisher with no fewer than 120 international caps deserves a consistent spot in his first-team plans.
Inter boss Roberto Mancini thinks otherwise and has reportedly sent Nerazzurri sporting director Piero Ausilio to the Emirates to watch Arsenal face Southampton tonight, with the hope of accelerating talks over a cut-price deal.
Ausilio in London with a clear objective
Podolski's considerable fanbase in London won't be able to write off Ausilio's visit as purely a scout mission, primarily because if that was the case Inter's transfer chief would more than likely have a wasted trip.
Wenger won't be tempted to start the 29-year-old barring a surprising shift in plans, so Ausilio must have flown to England in the hope of establishing whether a concrete offer would be warmly received by Arsenal.
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Mancini is a huge admirer
Inter have tracked Podolski for some time and are no strangers to chasing Premier League players thought to be past the very peak of their powers, as their moves for Nemanja Vidic and Dani Osvaldo last summr proved.
Tentative enquiries for the World Cup winner have previously been knocked back, but Bild believe Inter are now pole position to offer Podolski a new lease of life in Italy because of Mancini's arrival at the San Siro.
Mancini wanted Podolski during his spell at Galatasaray but couldn't get the deal done, but if Arsenal fail to offer the regular substitute any hope of regular game time between now and Christmas the former Man City boss looks far more likely to get his man this time around.
Could Campbell also be a target?
Inter could also use Ausilio's visit to revive interest in another player that's been persistently linked with Serie A in Joel Campbell.
The Costa Rica striker was finally brought back to the Emirates this summer by Wenger after three seasons on loan, but much like Podolski has failed to make any kind of impression when given fleeting appearances as an impact substitute so far this season.
Mancini wants fresh blood in attack and if impatience gets the better of Campbell you couldn't blame him for wanting to hold talks with Inter, an opportunity that may well arise this season.
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