Arsene Wenger has explained why he intends to add Lukas Podolski, the German international, to his Arsenal squad when the transfer window reopens.
Reports that the Gunners have already reached an agreement to sign the forward from Cologne have been confirmed as inaccurate, with both clubs denying the deal has been arranged for the summer weeks. However, Wenger has confirmed his interest in the 26-year-old, who he also tried to sign from Bayern Munich back in 2008.
Whilst stressing that Podolski is most certainly not being lined up to replace the brilliant Robin van Persie, who Roberto Mancini last week admitted is wanted at Manchester City, the French coach has revealed it is the versatility of the player which makes him a key target for his Emirates Stadium side ahead of next season.
“He can play for us because he can play central, right and left,” Wenger said in The Guardian ahead of the visit of Newcastle United on Monday evening, a match which could see the gap on North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur close to just a single point. “He has 95 caps for Germany and is 26 years old, which is the best age.”
Podolski is now in his second spell at the RheinEnergieStadion, both of which have been productive. 46 goals in 81 league appearances between 2003 and 2006 earned him a €10million move to the Allianz Arena following the 2006 World Cup Finals, but he often struggled to find his best form and returned just 15 goals in 71 outings. In 2009 he was back at Die Geißböcke, who paid a similar fee to that which they sold him for, and he has rediscovered his best form with 31 goals for a mid-table Bundesliga side.
His record for the national side is highly impressive, scoring 43 goals in 95 caps for Germany, including hitting the net in the past three major tournaments. On a goals-per-game basis, only Jurgen Klinsmann has a better ratio, and of the five players who have scored more, only 33-year-old Miroslav Klose is still playing. So although Podolski is yet to sign on the dotted line, it is clear why Wenger feels he would be a worthy acquisition.
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