Despite his frustrations at not being able to nail down a regular starting place for Arsenal, Arsene Wenger has no intention of letting Lukas Podolski leave in January.
The German international has made just six appearances for the Gunners this season, of which only one came as a start and that came in the League Cup, the competition the club gives the least importance to. This has prompted speculation that the forward could ask to leave when the window reopens, and he has admitted he may have to consider his options unless his situation improves.
But just days after totally dismissing the possibility of joining bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Podolski fired a reminder of his importance to Wenger’s side when he scored a stoppage time winner to secure an unlikely 2-1 UEFA Champions League win in Anderlecht. And speaking after the match, the French coach revealed that the 29-year-old will have a big part to play in the coming months.
“He is frustrated and I understand that of course,” said Wenger. “But he’s important and he showed that. He will be important in the coming months. It took him a while to get back to a good physical level after the World Cup and now he’s nearly there. He was never close to leaving. He has 115 caps for Germany that is not a coincidence. That shows you the quality. I know he can score.”
The win over the Belgian side, in which Kieran Gibbs scored a last-minute equaliser before Podolski struck, keeps Arsenal on course for reaching the knockout stages for a 12th consecutive season. They are currently in second position, three points behind Borussia Dortmund, but they have now opened up a five-point lead over Anderlecht and Galatasaray with three games remaining.
Can Podolski play a key part for Arsenal in their search for silverware this season? Let us know what you think about the German international by joining in the discussion below.