Podolski must partner Van Persie - not replace him

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Having endured a season in which good news has been few and far between, Arsenal fans have received two timely boosts in a mere matter of days.

Firstly the Gunners triumphed in convincing style over north London rivals Tottenham on Sunday afternoon - silencing numerous doubters for a week or so at least.

But, perhaps more significant news has since followed, with reports claiming Arsenal are close to completing a deal that will see Cologne striker Lukas Podolski move to the Emirates Stadium in the summer.

According to the Daily Mail, Podolski has already agreed terms with Arsenal and, although a deal is yet to be finalised, the German is expected to complete a transfer at the end of the season.

The 26-year-old has been in fine form this season, having netted on 16 occasions in 21 appearances in all competitions for both club and country.

Arsenal have been frequently linked with Podolski in recent months and, it would appear, this transfer saga is nearing a conclusion.

Although the signing of Podolski may appease fans frustrated about Arsene Wenger's conduct in the transfer market, it may also be an indication that the Arsenal boss is planning for life without Robin van Persie.

The Gunners captain is out of contract at the end of next season and has confirmed that all discussions over a potential new deal are on hold until the end of the current campaign.

Although there is no suggestion yet that Van Persie will not extend his stay at the club, the longer he goes without doing so the the less time Wenger has to plan for his departure.

Arsenal are, of course are loath to allow the Dutch striker leave the club, particularly after his sensational form over the past 12 months or so.

Van Persie has netted 23 goals in the Premier League this season and, if the loss of Cesc Fabregas last year was a hammer blow, the departure of the 28-year-old would be catastrophic.

It is, then, imperative that the arrival of Podolski heralds the start of something exciting in north London, rather than representing the end of an era.

Podolski and Van Persie working in tandem has the makings of a potentially devastating partnership, and will also relieve the pressure on the latter to carry his side through games.

One suspects, though, that Van Persie thrives on this pressure, and being handed the responsibility of captaining the side has only served to bring out the best in him.

He has, however, been particularly fortunate with injuries over the past year, and the acquisition of Podolski would also allow Wenger to manage the extreme workload of his skipper, particularly following the European Championships this summer.

Things are looking up for Arsenal with the signing of Podolski. One can only hope he and Van Persie are granted the opportunity to take the club to the next level.

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Robin Van Persie
Premier League

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