All this Lukas Podolski transfer talk takes my mind back to Euro 2008, Germany vs. Portugal.
I was lucky enough to be watching from the stands at St Jakob Park, Basel, as the Germans ran riot and won 3-2, though they could and should have scored many more. Bastian Schweinsteiger got the plaudits that night for a goal and a pair of assists, but the man who really caught my eye was Germany's left winger, Lukas Podolski.
He destroyed Portugal's right back, Jose Bosingwa, and pretty much every other player who tried to stop him. His speed, skill, creativity and of course, his hammer of a left foot stood out, and I wondered why a player who looked world class when playing for Germany hadn't hit the big time at club level.
He was on Bayern Munich's books at the time, and had managed only 17 goals in 75 games for his club up until then. On the contrary, his record for the national team was better than the elusive ratio of a goal every two games.
One season later, with the world at his feet, he left Bayern and re-joined his hometown club, FC Koln. He had a disastrous first season back, scoring just three goals in 2009-10. Bizarrely, he kept getting picked and scoring prolifically for Germany.
The 2010 World Cup in South Africa proved to be a turning point in Lukas's club career. Since the start of the 2010-11 season, he has scored 30 goals in 56 games for his club. His sparkling form, combined with his refusal to sign a new club contract due to "broken promises," have put him in the front row of European football's shopping window.
The touted transfer fee of £10.9 million is well within Arsene Wenger's preferred price range, making the likelihood of his transfer even more plausible.
Not sure about you, but I'm really excited about this transfer. I hadn't paid much attention to Podolski earlier, because he just couldn't cut it at club level. But having spent some time on YouTube, I really like what I see.
As an attacking player, Lukas Podolski has it all—speed, quick feet, a bagful of tricks, the ability to score with both feet, strength at set-pieces and a hammer of a left foot. In addition, he's got loads of experience—almost 300 club games and, astonishingly, 95 caps for Germany—quite astounding for a 26-year old.
And as you will see in the videos that follow, he has that most elusive quality—knowledge of where the goal is. Sounds obvious, but not everyone has it.
His ability to find the net when he looks off-balance and out of position is astounding.
Peruse on, and you'll see what I mean.
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