Lukas Podolski launched a stinging verbal attack on his former boss Arsene Wenger, claiming the Frenchman showed a lack of respect over his departure.
Podolski will spend the remainder of the season on loan with Inter Milan who will likely make the deal permanent this summer. The 29-year-old, who spent two-and-a-half years with the Gunners cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines after being ostracized from the Arsenal lineup despite a couple promising performances when given the chance.
He gave an interview with The Sun where he claimed he was not offered enough respect from Wenger and suggested the Arsenal boss had further issues with the German international who failed to earn a single Premier League start.
He said nothing to me. He did not call me or say goodbye.
I don’t need flowers or a kiss from him. But it is about respect, about saying goodbye. For me respect is important.
I did everything for the club I possibly could have. I don’t believe I did anything wrong. I did not get drunk in a club.
I wish all of Arsenal and their amazing fans the very best for this season and I see myself as a Gunner. Nothing from him to me, though, but that is his way.
Podolski felt he was mistreated by Wenger and singled out the moment he considered to be the final straw.
If I had been given a run of five or 10 games and played really s***, then I could say ‘fair enough, I am not good enough’.
I don’t say I should have played every game. When you have three games in a week and sit all of them on the bench, this is not fair.
I was happy at the club. I played 82 games and scored 31 goals plus assists. That’s not bad. But when you don’t get a chance you cannot show what you can do – and the last five months I hardly played.
Wenger said to me I was the best finisher at the club. Let me play, then. If you always play 10 or 15 minutes, you can show nothing. I was coming on at either 0-0 or 2-0 or 3-0 down.
My team-mates were asking me what was going on, but this is the life of a footballer.
The big moment was after the Champions League game. I played a very good game against Galatasaray and then I was on the bench again. I knew I had to move.
After joining from Cologne in 2012 Podolski seamlessly slotted into the Arsenal lineup for what was a decent debut campaign. But after a serious hamstring injury ruled him out for a large chunk of the 2013/14 campaign he failed to reintegrate into Wenger’s plans on a regular basis.
In fact the World Cup winner almost departed in the summer had it not been for Olivier Giroud’s injury in August and was underused by Wenger.
Podolski was often criticized for his lack of work ethic and effort in the defensive side of his game. But whatever you want to say about the German, he was an excellent finisher and was unfortunate not to play more frequently. The decision to drop him after a stellar performance in Turkey was a particular surprise.
Wenger had clearly lost faith in Podolski despite his continued reassurances in the media and with Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey closing in on returns, not to mention Theo Walcott being back in the mix, Podolski’s opportunities were set to become even more scarce. A wise decision to let him go unfortunately.