The clamour for Lukas Podolski to leave the Emirates in search of first team football elsewhere is growing stronger by the day, with the likes of German national coach Joachim Löw and legend Rudi Voller calling on the 29 year old to consider making an exit.
Given Arsenal’s mediocre start to the season it is clear why betting news sources such as blue sq, pundits and former players alike have been tipping them to achieve little in 2014-15, but what is not clear is why Wenger has been so reticent to give Podolski a run in the team.
Having joined Arsenal from FC Köln at the end of 2011-12, Podolski notched 16 goals in 42 appearances in his first season with the club, he then went on to follow that up with 15 goals in 27 games the following season, including six goals in Arsenal’s FA Cup win. This time round though Podolski has been used far more sparingly by Wenger- having returned as a world cup winner he has only started one game in 2014-15.
Had Arsenal been flush with striking options and scoring at will, Wenger’s decision to leave the experienced forward languishing on the bench could, perhaps, have been justified. As it was, the injury suffered early in the season by Olivier Giroud forced Wenger into investing £16.5m in Danny Welbeck. The thought of giving Podolski a leading role in the team, it seems, never crossed the manager’s mind.
At His Peak
Lukas Podolski is clearly a different player to both Welbeck and Giroud, offering neither the pace of the Englishman nor the physical presence of the French international, but he is a proven goalscorer and has unparalleled top-level experience. Whilst being quietly effective, Welbeck has yet to score the goals that Arsenal require (he has so far managed just two in eight Premier League outings) and Podolski must be growing increasingly frustrated at his lack of opportunities.
To his credit, the German has not publicly criticised Wenger’s selection decisions but, at 29, he will know that he is at the peak of his powers and needs regular first team football to keep delivering. Arsene Wenger may not want to sell Podolski but, if he doesn’t give him his chance soon, who could blame him for looking elsewhere?