When Lukas Podolski arrived at Arsenal in the summer of 2012, he was seen as the replacement for the departing Robin van Persie – he had a hammer of a left foot and was an outstanding finisher. But with the arrival of Olivier Giroud that same summer, he found himself more as a winger, although he did manage to score 16 goals in 42 games which isn’t a bad return for his first season in England.
Last season however he was less of an impact, scoring 12 goals in only 27 games. A better return percentage-wise, but the season saw him play 15 less games than the campaign before.
Arsene Wenger obviously favours a striker who can hold the ball up, and that role is covered by Olivier Giroud. Even when Van Persie was at Arsenal, he had the ability to hold the ball and bring others into play – something that unfortunately Podolski isn’t really renowned for. We also play with one main striker so a supporting role as a second striker isn’t really an option, meaning Podolski has been limited to appearances on the wing.
But that’s an area we seem to be well covered as well, and a position where Arsene seems to prefer others. Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Tomas Rosicky, Serge Gnabry and Santi Cazorla can all play the “wider” midfield roles and give more in terms to team play. And with the signing of Mesut Özil last summer, we have another attacking midfield role taken up.
We’ve signed Alexis Sanchez who you would think would be one of the main attackers this season, placing Lukas even further down the pecking order.
I’ve heard from a number of sources that staff at Arsenal think Podolski is one of the best finishers they’ve seen at the club for a long time, which is quite the compliment.
The problem is though, that to me anyway, it seems that Lukas Podolski was either a “stop-gap” buy from Arsene to help fill the void of Van Persie’s departure, or (and this is probably more likely) that he has simply not shown enough to the boss that he’s good enough for Arsenal’s starting eleven.
So where do you think Lukas Podolski’s future lies? As a first team regular, a useful squad player or is he looking to leave The Emirates?