Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Lukas Podolski Linked with Napoli
Lukas Podolski played 90 minutes in Germany’s 4-0 win over Gibraltar and provided a neat assist for Thomas Mueller. This was the first time the forward played a full game since Arsenal’s Capital One Cup defeat to Southampton back in September. Arsene Wenger even stated a long while ago that the German is his best finisher but somehow, the striker has been frozen out for as long as I can remember. The last time he had an extended run of games was in the tail end of last season and he repaid Wenger’s faith with well-taken braces against West Ham and Hull which took his tally for the campaign to 12 goals.
This season, Podolski has renewed his bench warming duties but he did come on to devastating effect against Anderlecht, scoring the goal that gave his team all three points on the night. He also had a brief cameo in the Burnley where he almost destroyed the cross bar with a thunderous shot. After notching up his 121st cap against Gibraltar, Podolski voiced his frustrations about his lack of playing time,
“I’ve spent the last four months making brief appearances, I’ve had to wrap myself up warm in my winter coat with my hat and scarf on to watch the others playing.
“I would rather show Arsenal what I am capable if, but this chance to show what I can do is not being given to me.
“I want to play football for many years to come so am I meant just to say everything’s fine and sit my contract out?”
If a player like Nicklas Bendtner was earning the kind of bucks Podolski earns, I’m pretty sure he’d have preferred to sit his contract out. Podolski is 29 years old and he has at least three to four more seasons left in him. Many Arsenal fans have their opinions about the lad but while he can be an incredibly frustrating player to watch (especially when he gets anonymous in games), he is also a quality striker that can be relied upon to finish off a ball when the chance comes.
Germany’s manager, Joachim Loew, has urged the player to leave Arsenal to get regular playing time, because his place in the German team is severely threatened. Despite being a World Cup winner, Podolski played a bit part role in the tournament and even with Marco Reus missing the tournament through injury, there was still no place for Podolski in Germany’s starting XI in most of the games. German great, Rudi Voeller has backed Podolski to excel at Arsenal but I feel that time is running out.
Podolski plays predominantly from the left but with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and even Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deployed from the left, Podolski hardly stands a chance there. In the center forward position, Podolski is further down the pecking order Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck. When the manager is looking for a goal against Swansea and he brings on Yaya Sanogo ahead of Podolski, that clearly means that the boss favours the young lanky French lad that has never scored for the club over a player that has scored 29 goals in 75 apps for Arsenal.
According to Football Italia, Podolski is heavily linked with a move to SSC Napoli this winter. The Italian outfit were dealt a heavy blow when their talented winger, Lozenro Insigne, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury on his knee and he’s definitely going to miss the rest of the season, getting a player like Podolski would be a plausible option, bearing in mind that he’s going to fill Insigne’s boots, should he decide to leave North London for Naples.
Rafa Benitez’ side are currently in third place behind League leaders, Juventus, and second placed AS Roma. Former Arsenal target, Gonzalo Higuain, and Jose Callejon are leading the club’s scoring charts with eight goals each. Napoli is also leading their Europa League group and are in pole position to qualify to the next round.
If things don’t improve for the German, he may be forced to make a decision in January. Let’s hope it’s the right one for the player and the club.
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