Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Gunners Must Keep Lukas Podolski This Summer

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30:  Lukas Podolski of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on January 30, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

In the wake of another trophy-less season and the possibility that the team will fail to qualify for next year's Champions League, Arsenal fans will surely hope that the team dramatically improves and adds dynamic players rather than once again selling off its key contributors.

With that being said, history may be set to repeat itself.

According to Charlie Wyett of The Sun, a few European sides may have interest in winger Lukas Podolski:

Arsenal face a summer fight to keep hold of Lukas Podolski.

Juventus and Atletico Madrid are both interested in signing the Germany striker—less than a year after he arrived at the Emirates for £10.9 million. 

Along with Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla, Podolski was one of the team's major summer additions. In fact, he and Giroud were essentially brought on to replace the departed Robin van Persie's goal production. 

While neither has quite lived up to those standards, Podolski has been very good for Arsenal this year, with 13 goals and 11 assists in 34 total appearances across all competitions. Only Giroud and Theo Walcott have scored more goals than Podolski this year.

The Gunners simply can't afford to sell him off this summer. 

That would be too much like two summers ago, when Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri departed. Or last summer, when Robin van Persie and Alex Song were sold.

An Arsenal team that had at least two of those players wouldn't currently be sitting in fifth place in the Premier League, that's for sure.

Truly, this Arsenal team isn't that far off from being able to compete for the league title, and may yet sneak back into Champions League qualification before this season is over.

The team definitely needs to add a holding midfielder, bolster the defense and perhaps add another pure striker—a shopping list probably too large for the frugal Gunners, I know—but losing players like Podolski, Cazorla, Walcott and Jack Wilshere is absolutely out of the question. 

Arsenal has the funds to add to the squad without losing key components in the process. There is no reason they can't add another striker and retain Podolski. There is no reason they can't add a true holding midfielder to aid the defense and keep their young stars intact.

And for heaven's sake, there is no reason they can't improve the back four. I'm fine with Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal and Carl Jenkinson—and I hope Thomas Vermaelen bounces back—but beyond that Arsenal's defense has major question marks.

The key this summer for the Gunners will be that a proportion of quality added versus quality departed will be tipped heavily in the direction of quality added. Keeping Podolski around is a huge part of that equation.


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