Arsenal Transfer News: Lukas Podolski Must Escape Gunners This Summer

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Lukas Podolski of Arsenal gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Sunderland at Emirates Stadium on February 22, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Lukas Podolski has rubbished claims that he may be used in an exchange to tempt long-term Gunners target Julian Draxler to the Emirates.

The 20-year-old Schalke player has been on Arsenal's radar for some time now, while Podolski's star has been on the wane at the north London club.

However, as reported by Bild (via Jack de Menezes in The Independent), the former Koln striker is insistent there was never a plan to bring Draxler in and send him the other way:

Every top player is interesting for Arsenal, Draxler is definitely one of them.

But what the management are planning, I cannot say.

An exchange deal of Podolski for Draxler has been described in some media but it was never an issue.

I have contact with Julian, he's a good boy. But about a switch [to Arsenal] we have not yet spoken.

Despite this, Podolski may do well to get himself out of London this summer, as he seems to have been demoted to the role of a bit-part player since his return from a hamstring injury in December.

Whether it be Schalke or potentially a rumoured move to Inter Milan, per the Daily Express, Podolski is a good enough player to demand a starting berth at a top club.

At 28 years old, he already has 111 Germany caps, an absolutely staggering achievement for someone so young. 

He arrived at Arsenal in 2012 from Koln having scored 18 goals in 29 appearances the previous season and had a strong first term with Arsenal, bagging 16 goals.

However, towards the end of last season, he spent a lot of time on the bench and was then put out through injury for the start of this season.

Since his return, Arsene Wenger has done little to suggest that Podolski is a big part of his plans for the future.

The striker has made only five starts in the league this season, whilst youngster Yaya Sanogo was picked ahead of him for Arsenal's key last-16 first-leg game against his former club Bayern Munich last month.

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

An alarming trend from a personal perspective for Podolski will have been that Arsenal seemed to cope very well without him at the start of the season.

The Gunners were looking like genuine title contenders with Olivier Giroud up front as Podolski was forced to sit in the stands.

With rumours circulating that Arsenal will look to bring in a new striker over the summer, the German may fall further down the pecking order.

While Podolski continues to play infrequently at Arsenal, his form will not improve.

For a player so talented, it would be a huge shame if he faded into anonymity.

He should look for an out this summer and strive to reach the top of his game once more.