Updates from Friday, Aug. 29
Wolfsburg have confirmed that their interest in Lukas Podolski has faded.
Managing director Klaus Allofs is quoted saying by Sky Sports' Bryan Swanson:
Wolfsburg MD on Lukas Podolski: "I think he is a good player but he will stay with Arsenal. We have finished our recruitment." #SSNHQ— Bryan Swanson (@skysports_bryan) August 29, 2014
After being left out of Arsenal’s squad for their match against Everton, there was plenty of chatter—as there has been all summer—about the future of Lukas Podolski.
But despite reported interest from Serie A, Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the player will be staying at the club, ahead of Arsenal's Champions League qualifier with Besiktas:
The player’s agent has also dismissed the notion that the German is on the cusp of an Emirates exit.
Speaking with tuttomercatoweb.it (via the Press Association in The Guardian), Ali Pektas refused to rule out the possibility of a transfer, but insisted there’s been no approach for Podolski yet:
I read in the newspapers that Juventus and Napoli were interested in Lukas. But there has been no approach from either of those clubs.
I don’t know if he will go to Italy in this transfer window. I can’t say anything for sure. The only certainty is that Lukas has a contract with Arsenal.
Indeed, Podolski seemed happy enough at Arsenal training recently, where he was pictured with new recruit Alexis Sanchez, per football writer SamuelJayC on Twitter:
Since Podolski joined the Gunners from Koln, he has been unable to nail down a regular place in the first team.
Used as both a left-midfielder and as a forward, the German has not been able to make a sustained impact in a particular position, and following the arrival of players like Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, competition for places is rife at the Emirates.
Squawka provides us with an indication of how frustrating things have been for Podolski at Arsenal:
Since joining, Lukas Podolski has completed the full 90 mins in just 13.2% of his EPL games for Arsenal (7 from 53). pic.twitter.com/4yeF7fuVI7— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 25, 2014
This stiff competition combined with a myriad fitness concerns and loss of form have conspired to hamper Podolski, and he appeared to signal the end of his Arsenal career when he posted what was assumed to be a farewell message on his Instagram account, per Vaishali Bhardwaj of Metro.
But the chances of an Arsenal stay would have surely increased following the news that Olivier Giroud is set to miss around three months due to injury, per Matt Law of The Telegraph. With that in mind, perhaps Wenger has decided to keep Podolski on board instead of making another costly foray into the transfer market.
Told it's most likely Podolski will join Juventus or Wolfsburg. But he could still stay at #AFC if interested clubs don't match his wages.— Wayne Veysey (@wayneveysey) August 25, 2014
Even so, Podolski is a player who has never really shone as a centre-forward, and although he’s shown during his time at the club that he knows where the back of the net is, perhaps Wenger will also look for a more fitting foil for the creative talents of Sanchez, Ozil and Santi Cazorla in the mould of an orthodox centre-forward.
Podolski is a player who clearly loves playing for Arsenal, but if he’s not given the appropriate reassurances about his playing opportunities you suspect he’ll be keen to move on.
Juventus and Wolfsburg are both clubs where you could foresee him getting more first-team minutes, and perhaps a new challenge would help the former Bayern man rediscover his best form.
But for the time being, it seems as though the popular German will remain in north London. Although forcing his way into a starting XI that is bursting with attacking talent will be a major ask for the player.