Serie A duo Roma and Inter Milan are set to battle it out for the services of want-away Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski, reports the Daily Star.
The Germany international has fallen down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium following the arrivals of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck back in the summer, and may bring his time in the capital to an end in order to secure a starting berth elsewhere.
And with Rudi Garcia and Roberto Mancini both hoping to bolster their squads when the transfer window reopens next year, it seems Italy’s top flight will be the new home to Germany’s third-highest capped player of all time.
Garcia is interested in Podolski as cover for former Arsenal winger Gervinho, who will leave the club on international duty with the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations next month.
With the club in the midst of a title battle with Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus, they are unlikely to be passive in the transfer market and have also been linked with defensive cover in the form of Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City.
They may also be a central midfielder down if Louis van Gaal manages to finally bring Netherlands international Kevin Strootman to Manchester United, though the club have insisted that the 24-year-old will not be departing the Stadio Olympico in January.
A loan deal for Podolski may be the best option, with a move back to his homeland possibly beckoning if things do not work out in the Italian capital.
With Roberto Mancini charged with the job of restoring Inter to the glorious heights of yesteryear, and banishing the disastrous reign of his predecessor Walter Mazzarri to distant memory, he is likely to bring in new faces to help boost their chances of securing Champions League football at the San Siro for next season.
Podolski’s powerful, bruising style of play would make him a vital asset and would offer them added potency down the flanks. Strikers Dani Osvaldo and Mauro Icardi may also receive the service in which to fire goals galore.
Out-of-favour Tottenham Hotspur winger Aaron Lennon has been linked with a move to Inter recently, though a possible transfer for United winger Adnan Januzaj is unlikely to happen after Van Gaal ruled out sending him out on loan.
Joel Campbell could be another alternative despite Arsene Wenger’s insistence that he would not be leaving the Emirates Stadium next month.
It seems a matter of time until Podolski leaves north London, and Serie A would be a welcoming home to a player sorely in need of regular minutes and game time.
His addition could provide either club with a welcome boost, and help them achieve their seasonal goals by the time the season draws to a close in May.