The 28 year old prefers to see himself as a striker whereas Wenger wants him to play on the left, which has caused friction. However he has found his rhythm over recent weeks scoring four goals in his last three appearances.
The French manager says he still prefers to play Podolski as a second striker, but insists that the German is still a key part to his plans.
Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, he said:
If you look at the number of games he has played, with the number of goals he has scored and the number of assists he has, he is a very efficient player. He can play as a second striker hanging behind but he’s not a guy who likes contact up front.
He likes to run in behind and get the ball to feet basically. When he gets in the box, and has a chance to score, he is the one you want to have the ball. He is very accurate, very quick, has a short backlift and is a quick, fantastic finisher. That’s why everyone says he is a striker.
But when he plays up front, completely up front, you don’t feel he enjoys it. He likes to come to the ball and always come deep.
- [Match Highlights] Southampton 1-1 Arsenal – All The Goals And Highlights
- [Player Ratings] Southampton 1-1 Arsenal – Giroud Saves Gunners
- [Confirmed Lineups] Southampton v Arsenal – Mertesacker Starts For Gunners
He is happy to play where he plays. He has over 100 caps with Germany and does not have one cap with Germany in the middle. Over 100 caps on the left. You cannot say it is not his job – he is happy there. He made a great international career there.
Podolski has not been a starter for Wenger for much of the season. He missed the first half of the campaign due to a bad thigh injury, but even upon his return he was only used sparingly. However, with Walcott’s injury, Wenger has been forced to make use of the German’s predatory intelligence and finishing prowess.
His goal-scoring record this season is mightily impressive. He has only made 17 starts and yet already has 12 goals to his name. He has only come off the bench seven times, many of which have been for less than 10 minutes which shows his astonishing levels of efficiency in the final third.
He isn’t perfect as his defensive work is often lacklustre and he often manages to drift through games while waiting for the chances to come. However, when an opportunity does present itself, there’s no Arsenal player you’d rather see with the ball at his feet inside the opponents’ penalty area and he only needs a moment to turn a chance into a goal. Finding players with that kind of hit rate is no easy task and it would be kind of foolish to let him go.