Even if you’re a glass half empty person and are unconvinced as to whether Lukas Podolski can be a success at the Emirates, surely it’s pleasing for Arsenal fans to see that the club is close to signing a fairly big name for a change? And even if you’re a glass even emptier than half person, as most Gooners are these days, and you believe the club is already preparing for life without Robin Van Persie, at least his replacement has proven himself to be a prolific forward at both club and international level. Either way, even the most pessimistic of Arsenal supporters would have to be glad that the club is attempting to sort this one out early. The last thing they need is for Van Persie to be linked with Manchester City and Barcelona all summer, with Arsenal insisting he will remain at the Emirates, only for him to be sold on deadline day with no time to bring in anyone else, a la Cesc Fàbregas and Samir Nasri.
With 75 minutes on the clock, trailing 4-3 on aggregate to AC Milan in the Champions League earlier in the week, Arsenal were running out of ideas and needed some fresh legs on the pitch. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was struggling and the Gunners’ other pacey outlet Theo Walcott later limped off injured. It’s unlikely that a single Arsenal fan inside the Emirates was inspired with confidence when Arsène Wenger turned to Marouane Chamakh and Chu-Young Park. Nor would they have been filled with optimism had Nicklas Bendtner been there to come lumbering off the Arsenal bench. With a player like Podolski however, things might well have been different.
Arsenal have reportedly agreed a €13million fee with FC Köln for Podolski’s signature which will probably turn out to be a bargain. Particularly as Liverpool seem perfectly willing to chuck £20million+ away every time they sign a player and have managed to finish above Arsenal no more than three times during the past 15 seasons. Ok, Podolski’s stint at Bayern München wasn’t the most successful, but he has notched 77 goals in 160 appearances for FC Köln during his two spells for Die Geißböcke, despite playing in a side which has twice been relegated and is struggling again this season. At the age of just 26, he has already made 95 appearances for Germany (and with the greatest respect, that’s not like getting 96 Wales caps), chalking up 43 goals. Even when you consider that players like Stewart Downing are able to make it on to the international stage, you have to say that’s impressive.
Whether or not Van Persie stays at the Emirates, Podolski is still an exciting signing. And well done to Arsenal for getting in there quick for a change. If Liverpool or Chelsea had gotten wind of the deal, they’d have gone straight on to YouTube to check him out, before doubling Arsène Wenger’s bid and ruining the entire thing. Then where would we be? Yet another promising striker unable to hit a barn door with a banjo.