Daily Archives: May 1, 2012

The Life and Times of Lukas Podolski

A Clear Statement of Arsenal's "ambition"

One of football’s worst kept secrets has been revealed.

Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that a deal has been agreed to sign German international striker Lukas Podolski on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee.

These were the exact words culled from the club’s website to end a saga that had put the fans on their toes from the winter.

Lukas Podolski is a Polish-born German international that has notched up 95 caps at the age of 26 and he has scored 43 goals for the national team. He broke into the FC Cologne setup in 2003 and scored 79 league goals in 168 appearances for the German-based outfit.

FC Bayern signed the forward for €10m in 2006 but he failed to impress in his three seasons with the Bavarians, scoring 15 league goals in 71 appearances.

They say that “home is where the heart is”, so no eyebrows were raised when Podolski returned back to FC Cologne in 2009 and he has rediscovered his form at the Energie Rhein Stadium this season scoring 18 goals in 28 appearances this season.

It all started when Arsenal’s transfer prospect, Lukas Podolski, expressed his disillusionment with life at FC Cologne. Podolski said that he rejoined the club from FC Bayern because of the promises made by the club to challenge for a top eight place in the Bundesliga.

Since his arrival in 2009, FC Cologne has been languishing in mid-table with 12th, 13th and a 10th placed finishes in the past three seasons. With one game left to play against Champions League finalists, Bayern Munich, FC Cologne is currently afloat relegation waters and this certainly isn’t the “top eight” challenge Podolski had in mind.

After expressing his disillusionment with his current employers, he hinted that he’ll prefer to move abroad. This bit of info got all the predators licking their lips in the prospect of signing Podolski.

Arsene Wenger revealed that Podolski was needed at the Emirates for glory next season. Wenger said that Podolski’s arrival will ease the pressure off van Persie next season, which will help push Arsenal towards that elusive trophy next season.

Per Mertesacker also played an Ivan Gazidis-esque role on Podolski, because the Gentle Giant unveiled that Podolski sent him a few text messages and he told the chap that Arsenal is a great club. Podolski reiterated that he’s not joining the club for the greens, but he wants to develop his career.

Weeks later, the media Vultures reported that he had agreed personal terms and Arsenal had finally agreed a deal to sign the forward in the summer. This news caused an uprising among the Cologne faithful while some Gooners became addicted to the Poldi affair, even to the extent of watching every game he plays.

When Cologne hosted Hertha Berlin in a Bundesliga fixture this seaason, Lukas Podolski earned himself an early bath but the reaction of the Gooners on my timeline was simply hilarious:

 @DmitryMD: Podolski wants to have a rest before he will play for Arsenal. That’s why he got a red card

At some point in time, Arsene Wenger turned Arsenal smiles upside down when he revealed that there has been no deal for Lukas Podolski:

“I have not a lot to say about that because if we sign a player we will inform you. At the moment we have not signed anybody. There is still no agreement.

“The distance to the agreement is not always linked with the signing. ”When you are very close you are quickly very far again, but Podolski is a good player, I wouldn’t deny that.”

Despite these quotes from the boss, I remained upbeat about the saga because Wenger is renowned for being coy with his transfer dealings. However, Podolski remained silent about it.

For starters, Lukas Podolski is that “quality signing” Arsenal fans have been craving for.

Losing key midfielders like Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri was a bitter pill to swallow for Gooners worldwide but the manager responded well to sign midfielders like Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun (loan) and they have been immense for Arsenal this season.

Arsenal is yet to win a match without Arteta while Benayoun had stood up to be counted in the twilight of his loan spell with cracking performances.

Arsenal fans have been barraging the manager to make a quality signing in attack and Lukas Podolski fits the bill perfectly. With forwards like Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard and Pato probably beyond Arsenal’s reach; the signing of Podolski has surely earned Wenger some plaudits.

Judging from his career by numbers, Podolski isn’t “profilic” but his finishing ability is lethal nonetheless.

This season Arsenal has been over-reliant on Robin van Persie and the Dutch forward has done superbly well to deliver the goals week in week out with 35 goals in all competitions.

Arsenal’s captain played a lot of games by his standards and the risk of a burn out or some sort of muscular injury is looming. The signing of a clinical striker like Lukas Podolski will certainly ease the pressure off van Persie and he’ll be able to get deserved rest in some games.

Finally, Lukas Podolski’s inclusion to the team will provide a healthy competition and that extra depth in the forward line.

This season, Arsenal has been ravaged by injuries especially in defense and Arsene Wenger has been forced to activate his skills in alchemy to convert Francis Coquelin, a renowned defensive midfielder to a decent full back.

However, Wenger had to resort for Coquelin after his options were exhausted at the back with an injury suffered by Thomas Vermaelen against Queens Park Rangers in December.

If Robin van Persie suffers an injury anytime soon, the panic button will be pressed so hard by the fans and it will probably spring out of its remote control.

Lukas Podolski will give the fans peace of mind knowing that he’s capable enough to deputize for Arsenal’s star striker unlike Marouane Chamakh and Park Chu-Young before him.

Now that we have Podolski in the bag, eyes are now firmly fixed on Yann M’Vila and Jan Vertonghen. This summer promises to be a very busy period for everyone concerned about Arsenal, because a few arrivals are expected while a mass exodus of the club’s deadwood are on the cards.

Welcome to the Emirates Stadium, Lukas Podolski.

We hope you’ll be the first of a few more “quality” signings.


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