Serie A giants Inter Milan must ensure they win the race for out-of-favour Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski.
The Germany international has found starting opportunities difficult to come by at the Emirates Stadium following the arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona in the summer, and is widely expected to leave the Premier League when the transfer window reopens next month.
And with Roberto Mancini keen to bolster his squad ahead of the second half of the season, the Italian must ensure they convince him to snub a return to Germany in order to sign on at the San Siro.
Despite Arsenal having endured a slow and sluggish start to the season, manager Arsene Wenger has afforded Podolski little game time but would be more inclined to sell the German in the summer instead.
He has been restricted to just 13 appearances for the North London side this term, and has grown disillusioned with life at the club after arriving from his beloved FC Cologne just over two years ago.
Sanchez’s brilliant impact coupled with the arrival of Danny Welbeck from Manchester United has left him spending much of his time on the substitute’s bench, despite helping his country to win the World Cup in Brazil back in the summer.
His relationship with his manager is nearing the point of no return, and despite his muscle and power being valuable assets the chances of him remaining in the top flight of English football for the foreseeable future appear remote.
Mancini is in the market for a winger in order to restore some pace to a side that were insipid under Walter Mazzarri and head into the Christmas break in 11th place, six points behind high-flying Lazio in third.
They moved to end rumours of a move for Tottenham Hotspur’s Aaron Lennon, though are thought to be interested in securing a loan deal for Manchester United’s Adnan Januzaj, who is also tickling the fancy of David Moyes’ Real Sociedad in La Liga.
Mancini’s first spell at the club saw him possess the likes of Luis Figo, Cesar Rodrigues and Santiago Solari, all of which were similar to Podolski given their power and potency along the flanks.
His Manchester City side that won the Premier League title also consisted of the likes of Samir Nasri, David Silva and Adam Johnson, with the Italian believing that consisting wingers in abundance could be the blueprint for domestic domination.
Regardless of when, it seems that Podolski is on borrowed time in North London and an exit within the next year appears more than likely.
Inter are a club of huge pedigree and prestige, and could appeal to the German who has enjoyed a previous spell at European superpower Bayern Munich.
His style of play and versatility makes him a valuable asset for any side on the planet, and could be a huge factor in determining where they finish by the time the season draws to a close in May.
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