As a keen viewer of German football I for one can’t wait to see Lukas Podolski playing for The Arsenal.
Podolski has always struck me as an exciting player: he’s strong, has a decent turn of pace and an explosive left foot. Not dissimilar to a certain Robin Van Persie.
A couple of years ago the signing of Podolski would have nullified Van Persie. Podolski is at his most effective either playing a deep role behind a striker or operating from the left as he does for Germany. Yet in the last 18 months RVP has become a different player, operating mainly within the box.
Don’t get me wrong, he still comes deep for the ball and picks out runners (check Walcott’s goal against Spurs this year) but his desire to get in and around the six-yard box and his fruitful return this season show a different type of player.
This past season Van Persie has been the ‘fox in the box’ we cried out for years ago – he’s become a proper goalscorer.
So who better to provide Van Persie than Lukas Podolski?
For years now Podolski has forged a deadly alliance with Miroslav Klose – who has 64 goals for ‘die Maanschaft’ – playing from the left-hand side.
Podolski himself became the youngest ever European to win 100 national caps during EURO 2012, and has scored 44 goals in his 101 Germany appearances.
At Cologne this season Podolski had his most prolific season yet in the Bundesliga, with 18 goals (17 with his left foot) in 29 appearances. He scored 46% of Cologne’s goals, and managed 7 assists too – meaning Podolski was directly involved in 25 of his team’s 39 goals. Podolski and Cologne were at their best when fellow striker Novakovic was available, freeing up Podolski to play a free role behind him.
So, whether or not he plays from the left or behind a striker (be that RVP or Giroud), Podolski will offer Arsenal something different next season. Either Podolski will offer something more direct and explosive than any of our other wide options, or he will allow Mr Wenger to use a 4-4-2. Either way, expect to see shots form 20-30 yards flying toward the North Bank.