Lukas Podolski: What Arsenal Would Be Getting From The German Hotshot

Arsenal have one hundred million to fix their ailing team, so should they spend some of it Lucas Podolski to alleviate the pressure on RVP?
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Arsenal have one hundred million to fix their ailing team, so should they spend some of it Lucas Podolski to alleviate the pressure on RVP?

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There’s been a lot going on at 1. FC Köln recently. Their match at home to Mainz 05 on  Saturday was called off after referee Babak Rafati’s attempted suicide in his hotel room before the game,  while last week Wolfgang Overath, a club legend and long-time German international, resigned as president after seven years. On the pitch, this season has been one of ups and downs. Köln lie in 11th place with five wins and six defeats, but their season has largely been dominated by one man: Lukas Podolski. The 26-year-old has nine goals and five assists to his name in the league and has been attracting the attention of a host of European clubs with his displays.

A local boy, he starred at the World Cup in 2006 and earned himself a transfer to Bayern Munich in 2007. His time at Säbener Straße was a forgettable one, however. He didn’t receive much playing time after falling behind Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose in the pecking order and returned to his boyhood club in June 2009. He managed just three league goals in his first season back at Köln, and 12 the next season. At one point, in the summer of 2010, he had the rather unusual statistic of having scored fewer career goals in the Bundesliga than he had for the German national team. This season, under new coach Stale Solbakken, Poldi has rediscovered his goalscoring touch and been the club’s best player by a considerabe distance.

One look at the ‘gossip column’ of any German football website and there are a host of clubs apparently interested in signing Podolski. In the last few days, the most accurate of those reports seem to be the one linking him to a reunion with his former teammate Klose, currently firing Lazio to the top of Serie A. But there’s also been string interest in him from Premier League clubs, notably Arsenal and Tottenham.

At one point, in the summer of 2010, he had the rather unusual statistic of having scored fewer career goals in the Bundesliga than he had for the German national team.

In spite of the difficulties that new recruits have adapting to the Premier League, Podolski would have no such problems. Podolski can count speed as one of his primary attributes, and he plays in teams that attack the opposition with pace and width, which suits his game perfectly. Many of his goals and assists for Köln this season have been lightning quick counter-attacks, while we all know how well he fits into the front three or four that Germany manager Joachim Löw employs. In that sense, he’d adapt very well to the football that Liverpool play.

He commands a huge wage, and with his contract running out in 2013, the club may be better off cashing in on him. General Manager Volker Finke has spoken of his desire to renew Podolski’s contract, which will need to include a considerable pay-rise to prevent his head being turned else where. But either way, a decision needs to be made before the beginning of next season, if the ‘economic suicide’ that Finke warned of – letting Podolski see out his contract and losing him for free in 2013 – is to be avoided.

It seems pretty clear that Podolski will leave Köln next summer. He recently received the blessing of national team coach Löw to move to England, and he lost a close friend at the club when Overath resigned last week. Köln, a club rumoured to have debts in the region of €30 million, would be best advised to sell him. Under new coach Solbakken, they’re building for the future and will have enough to avoid relegation this season. With the money from the possible sale of their most prized asset, reinvestment and consolidation as Bundesliga club would then be the way to go.

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