It has finally happened. After months of being sidelined and watching the team from the bench, it appears that Podolski has finally decided to put his foot down. According to ESPN, the German World Cup winner asked to hold ‘showdown talks’ with Wenger and is now set for a loan move worth £1.5 million to Italian giants Inter.
The forward has been utilised only a handful of times this season, and despite good performances on every occasion he has failed to cement a starting place in the side. Even with the injury crisis in the side and the desperate need to rest players like Sanchez, the manager has chosen not to use the German on a regular basis. This is even more astonishing considering that there are no rumours of a falling out in the dressing room; everyone seems to be on the best of terms with each other. As to why Podolski is not being given the playing time a player of hos calibre deserves, only Wenger seems to know and he doesn’t want to share.
Reports had emerged early on Sunday itself that the player was looking to hold talks with the manager to get a firm answer as to his place in the club. The Polish newspaper Super Express carried an interview with him in which he expressed his confusion as to his lack of playing time and said that at this point in his career he is not content to simply sit and wait for a chance.
I am not 20 or 21 years old and satisfied to wait for a chance. I am 29. I want to play, play, play!
What can I do that I’m not already doing? I played in the starting XI in the Champions League and scored two goals, but then I was back on the bench [for the 4-1 win over Newcastle]. I don’t know what more I can do to convince the coach.
Podolski brings up a good point. In the few appearances he has made, he has looked full of spirit and very dangerous on the ball. The brace that he scored against Galatasaray was a treat and in almost any team that would have guaranteed him a starting berth for the next game. But not only is Wenger choosing to not utilise the player, he is reluctant to even reveal why, and has skirted the topic on most occasions.
Podolski claimed Wenger “is not blind” and can see his frustration, which makes this even more mysterious. However, he is still willing to listen, for when asked about the links with Inter and Roma, he said “nothing is a foregone conclusion” and that he would first find out Arsenal’s intentions:
In the next few days, I’m going to talk to him. I want to know what the club is planning for me.
Rumours about him making a possible move to an Italian side have been making the rounds since October itself, and though back then there was no concrete interest, the clubs are making clear moves now. Both Inter Milan and AS Roma have reportedly approached the Gunners to inquire about Podolski, and are willing to pay to get the player on a six month loan deal with the option to buy.
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And the Daily Mail says that Inter officials had a ‘good meeting’ with Arsenal management on Saturday in which they were assured that a deal can be struck. This deal will reportedly see Podolski make the move after the game against Southampton.
The manager was asked about this during the press conference yesterday, and again provided a non-committal answer:
No there is nothing concrete there. At the moment nobody goes out. We have Ozil coming back now at the beginning of January, so of course there is a lot of competition up front.
Not exactly a reassuring statement for a player looking to secure more playing time. It is this lack of communication from the manager regarding the future of Podolski that is frustrating the player the most and unless Wenger makes him a really good deal during their personal talks, I highly doubt we will be able to hold on to the talented forward. This is sad news for Gooners, as Poldi has become one of the most highly liked players of the club, both for his skill and his social media presence. Hopefully, he will choose to stay on at the Emirates, though that is up to Wenger to decide.