Lukas Podolski has rarely held his cards close to his heart when it comes to reacting to different situations and making his opinions felt.
The German international openly expressed his disgruntlement when he was persistently left to dwell on the bench by Arsene Wenger, and then reiterated his disappointment when the Frenchman made the decision to loan him to Inter Milan.
Then, after coming to the conclusion that his time at the San Siro wasn’t going to be a picture framed with golden glory, the World Cup winner sought favour in north London by insisting there was still time for him to salvage his Emirates Stadium career. Now, he’s practically declared that he’s ready to give Arsenal another crack.
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With no purchase option included as part of the agreement that saw the forward move to Italy in the first place - as he’ll be the first to tell you - it does indeed look as though his spell at Inter will be a half-season job only. Then he’ll return to English shores with the aim of forcing his way into Wenger’s plans and silence those who claim he’s not of the required standard.
Wenger has two choices in the scenario on the table before him. He can either welcome Podolski back into the fold and let the left-footer, who will be 30 in June, duke it out with the likes of Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, or he can move him on for good.
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The first option is the more politically stable, that’s for sure. But that isn’t to say it’s the better. The very best managers make their living when it really matters by calling shots for the good of the team, and in this instance the best option for improvement is to see that Podolski leaves.
Flaws in Podolski's game
The biggest problem with the ex-Bayern Munich man is that he has no niche position with Arsenal. He’s not as gifted when it comes to the tiki-taka flair the likes of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere so often showcase, nor is he as direct as Alexis Sanchez nor as good in front of goal as Olivier Giroud. His direct nature makes it look as though Wenger should be utilising him as a striker, and yet he hasn’t proved anywhere near clinical enough for that detail at a top Premier League side.
Whilst steadily eating up a hearty portion of the club’s wage bill with a salary mooted to be around £100,000-a-week Podolski has only managed a return of eleven goals across 53 appearances in the league over the past two seasons in English football, and he’s assisted only 18. Not overly shabby, but not enough to warrant being a go-to-guy in a side vying for major honours.
If Wenger is serious about taking a team with vast potential and seeing them put in a realistic title challenge next season then he needs to be busy scraping clear those that he does not strictly need.
Podolski’s form since his move to Inter was the last proof Wenger needed in a dossier of disappointment he has produced over the last two years, and to say that he will be an important element of any title-contending Arsenal side next year is either extremely optimistic or simply an overestimation of his capabilities.
There’s plenty of German clubs who would relish the chance to take Podolski back to the Bundesliga. He certainly talks to a good game, but unfortunately that’s where it seems to end these days.
Arsenal fans, should Podolski be given another chance in north London? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below...