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All Good Things Come to an End… Like Lukas Podolski and Germany

Lukas Podolski is congratulated by Leroy Sané and Andre Schürrle after scoring Germany’s winner against England.

There has been so much negativity around the club in recent weeks amidst the bad run of results, so I decided to take a little break from writing about the club I love more than anything in this world – Arsenal. However, the international break is upon us and we ‘neutral’ football prefer to watch the games that have connections to Arsenal, like the Germany vs England game last night. These are two countries that have had their fair share of Arsenal contingent and they also have a lot of quality players on display but the night was about a former Gunner, Lukas Podolski, that was bowing out, after 129 games for his nation in 13 great years.

It’s funny how Podolski was ignored by Poland in 2004, then 19-years-old, playing in second division FC Cologne. Poland’s manager at that time, Pawel Janas, had really harsh quotes when he deflected the Polish media campaign for Podolski to get a call up to the national team,

“As for today we have much better strikers in Poland and I don’t see a reason to call up a player just because he played one or two good matches in the Bundesliga. He’s not even a regular starter at his club.”

Poland’s loss was Germany’s gain as Rudi Voeller gave the 19-year-old his debut against Hungary, making him the first second division player since 1975 to break into the first team. From that moment, the fairy tale for young Podolski began. He featured in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 European Championships as well as the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, scoring 48 goals in 129 games before last night’s friendly with England.

Podolski had already announced after Euro 2016 that he was going to retire from international football in March 2017, so everybody prepared for yesterday because they knew it was going to be the last time they were going to see their star don the German jersey and it turned out to be a great occasion.

There was a presentation to the 2016 German Player of the Year, Mesut Ozil, ahead of the game, and the maestro had already stated that he was going to inherit Podolski’s #10 jersey after he retires. The game itself was a great spectacle with both sides giving their best to make a friendly game look competitive and I liked England’s kit, but it was only written in the stars when the game was settled by a Lukas Podolski trademark piledriver.

We have seen Podolski do that times without number in the past but the English defenders chose to afford him some free space and paid dearly for it. In the end, that proved to be the match clincher and there were a lot of emotional scenes at the end of the game as the fans, manager and players bid farewell to their favored son.

Podolski hangs international boots with one gold medal for Germany in 2014 and two bronze medals from the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. He also picked up a silver medal for his nation in the 2008 Euros and a bronze medal in the 2005 Confederations Cup. On an individual note, he won the Young MVP award in the 2006 World Cup and he will be very proud of all he achieved with Germany.

In a club career that has seen him play for FC Cologne, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Internazionale and Galatasaray, Podolski has announced that he will start a new adventure with Vissel Kobe in Japan at the completion of the European campaign in the summer.

I wish Podolski the very best in his future endeavors.

Sayonara.

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Lukas Podolski: Reasons Why Arsenal Would Miss the Forward

Podolski

Yesterday had a great feel from an Arsenal perspective as Alexis Sanchez and his compatriots did what was needed to win the Copa America for the first time. Things almost went awry for Chile late on when Gonzalo Higuain fired a shot to the side netting but we had to wait for the lottery of penalty shootouts to decide the contest and I’m sure every Arsenal fan was elated that Alexis Sanchez won the game for his nation with this peach of a penalty…

Congratulations to Chile and I hope Alexis can get some good rest ahead of the forthcoming season. He has played 76 games in 14 months for both club and country and if there’s anybody that deserves some good rest, it’s Alexis.

However, there’s a player that will not be wearing Arsenal’s colors next season as the club has confirmed that Lukas Podolski will be joining Galatasaray after three seasons with the Gunners. Podolski was an important asset to the club when he joined in the summer of 2012 but as the seasons progressed, he found himself on the fringes and finally fell out of favor with Arsene Wenger.

Nonetheless, some fans (me included) are going to miss the German and here are the things I’m going to miss about him.

That Thunderous Left Foot

Podolski had a reputation of blasting balls into the opposition net from his FC Bayern and FC Cologne days. He even did it a couple of times at international level but when he joined Arsenal, he showed that the trend was going to stop anytime soon.

While I was obviously happy that such a blistering piledriver went into the net, I spared a thought for Montpellier Herault’s goalie, Geoffrey Jourdren. His hapless attempt to salvage anything from the shot proved how hard Podolski had hit it and there was no way in Hell that goalie was going to save the ball.

Arseblog likened Podolski’s left foot to Thor’s Hammer. I’m sure are all in agreement with that assessment.

His Clinical Finishing

Even Arsene Wenger confirmed in a press conference that Podolski was the best finisher in his team,

“He’s certainly one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen. When he is physically ready, he will of course help us. If there’s one you want to see in front of the goal in a shooting position, it’s him.”

There are some strikes I remember Podolski execute superbly and I wonder where he had the audacity to even attempt them. He smashed in 31 goals in 81 appearances for the Gunners and at the end of the 2013/14 campaign, he had the best conversion rate (26 percent) in the Premier League. This record has been bested by Diego Costa and Juan Mata.

Podolski was one man many Arsenal fans wanted to see in a one-on-one situation because the odds of him finding the back of the net were always very high. Shame we won’t be seeing this anymore.

His Connection with the Fans

This will probably be one of the things I’d miss the most about Prinz Poldi. Whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or on the pitch itself, Podolski knew how to work his way to the hearts of the fans, and he was loved for it.

Many fans won’t be quick to forget his antics in White Hart Lane after the Gunners recorded yet another victory on that ground. It was like party time there and Podolski led the efforts.

His Experience

We all know that there’s no substitute for experience in world football and the most recent acquisition of a legendary veteran like Petr Cech showed that Arsene Wenger knows what an experienced and talismanic goalie like the Czech Republic shot stopper could offer to his team.

Podolski, 30, falls into this category of footballers that have been there and done that and there were games where he made his vast experience count for the team.

Take the away game against West Ham in the 2013/14 season for instance. The Gunners were struggling in that game and it seemed as if they weren’t going to make a breakthrough. On came Podolski from the bench to grab a brace and even set up Theo Walcott for Arsenal’s third. Or do you wanna remember that home clash against Stoke were Tony Pulis hordes tore a script from the Jose Mourinho Bus Parking for Dummies manual and it seemed as if they were going back home with a point. Up stepped Podolski to deliver a close range free kick under the wall to give his side three vital points.

There are many games Podolski won points for his team, even though it seems as if he was undervalued, his experience came in handy in those situations.

Conclusion

With Lukas Podolski off to Turkey, he will be missed at Arsenal. While it was evident that he was surplus to requirements at the Emirates, he was still hopeful of making a contribution in the coming season but the Gunners preferred to cash in on him now, instead of waiting for him to leave on a Bosman at the end of next season.

Galatasaray got a glimpse of Podolski’s wrath last season in the Champions League when he scored a brace against them and they’d be happy that he’s in their books now to aid them in their campaign next season.

I wish Podolski all the very best and I hope he does well in Turkey.

Sayonara.

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Lukas Podolski’s Agent Confirms Galatasaray Move

It’s lunch break here at work and I’m meant to be on the ground floor eating something and having a ball with my guys. But here I am waiting for my Mega Chicken order of jollof rice, chicken, salad and a drink while surfing the web to see if Arsenal has signed some alien from Krypton. There’s nothing new on the site – some Petr Cech stuff and Hector Bellerin telling us how he loved the look on Simon Mignolet’s face when he scored the opening in the 4-1 thrashing of the Reds.

However, there’s an update in regard to player departures as Lukas Podolski’s agent, Nassim Touihri, has confirmed to German newspaper, Bild, that his client is leaving for Galatasaray in a few days.

“We had very good talks with Arsene Wenger. He wanted to keep Luke, but could give him no regular place guarantee. Therefore, we have agreed on a change.

This news essentially means that the German’s time at Arsenal is up after three seasons at the Emirates. When I think about the effort it took Arsenal to chase the lad from FC Cologne, it’s a glaring indication that football can be such a cruel sport when it wants to be. Hey, even Cesc Fabregas left the Gunners to the ‘club of his dreams’ only to be booted out after three seasons, so that’s the reality of the situation.

Podolski’s departure would mean that the No. 9 jersey can be available for Olivier Giroud or Danny Welbeck but that jersey has been ‘cursed’ with some awkward players in the past, ranging from the likes of Francis Jeffers to Julio Baptista and co. With Yaya Sanogo set to depart to Lille and Podolski leaving as well, the attacking position could become a bit light, so Wenger would have to inject some quality into the position.

Off the pitch, Podolski is a lovable character and he connects well with the fans, but on it, he’s a quality player no doubt but there some parts of his game that needed improvement. He has him a left foot that was blessed by Thor himself when he went on holiday to Asgaard and he used it to great effect for the Gunners. I look at clips of the Montpellier and West Ham goals and I’m like, ‘Damn, this guy had some firepower on that foot’ and in most cases, that was just it. Sometimes, he could become peripheral in a game and pop up with that moment of brilliance but he wasn’t doing it on a consistent basis.

Podolski is 30 and he need to continue playing regular football. A move to Galatasaray would do him some good and now, his agent has confirmed that it’s going to happen.

I wish him all the #aha and best in Turkey.

Where’s my food O’ Mega Chicken 😥

Sayonara.

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