Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed the reason behind letting striker Lukas Podolski leave the club on loan in the January transfer window.
The German international completed a six-month loan deal to Serie A side, Inter Milan, last week and made his first-team debut coming off the substitute bench on Tuesday night.
Inter faced league-leaders Juventus in Turin and came away with a satisfactory point, which could have been all three had Mauro Icardi put away a brilliant chance after a fine Podolski run.
Podolski, who joined Arsenal back in 2012 after leaving German side FC Cologne, went on to make 60 appearances for the North London club, scoring 19 goals along the way but his appearances started to become rare during the 2014/2015 campaign.
Due to the arrivals of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez, from Manchester United and FC Barcelona respectively, Podolski's game-time in the first-team diminished and he spent most of the season sitting on the bench and only making brief appearances.
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Despite scoring goals when given the chance to play, Wenger continued to bench the World Cup Winner and eventually made the decision to loan him out until the end of the season.
Although the deal is only a temporary one, it's highly believed Podolski will leave the Premier League on a permanent basis in the summer, and Wenger admitted today that the competition for places was a real factor in the German leaving.
Speaking in his weekly press conference, Wenger stated that Podolski was frustrated with the lack of game-time, and a loan away suited both parties.
“He didn’t get enough opportunities to play - because I knew that, I gave him a chance to go,” the Arsenal manager said.
“Why? Because we have many players who can play in these positions and at the end of the day only 11 can start. When a player of his quality doesn’t get enough games, at some stage too much competition is detrimental to the confidence of the players and their positivity.
“You need the right number and we had too many players in this area. It’s nothing to do with his quality; it’s just down to the fact that we had too many players in the same area.”
Podolski will now spend the rest of the season in Italy with Roberto Mancini's side.