It has certainly been one of the happier fortnights in Arsenal’s campaign thus far, and the delight reached another peak yesterday with the news that the club have agreed a £10 million deal for FC Koln’s Lukas Podolski at the end of the current season yesterday. The capture of the 26-year-old Germany international turned heads not only in North London but the world over with Wenger swooping for one of the higher calibre names in the international game. A policy not always adopted by the Frenchman.
Gunners fans have been purring at the thought of a potential pairing with the formidable Robin Van Persie in the teams striking ranks next term, and a wave of new found optimism has swirled around the camp, following the impressive showing against AC Milan. For all connected to Arsenal, they will just hope the 95 cap German will not be a direct replacement for the Dutchman.
With the Gunners transfer dealings’ already in action before the 2011/12 season is out, this directly contrasts the policy of Wenger’s ideologies last term whereby he left many signatures until deadline day through the hope that he was going to be able to keep at least one of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Wenger’s judgement upon this issue has been questioned since and it seems he has realised and taken on board this error in time for the next campaign.
So let us examine whether Wenger has finally woken up to a new transfer policy, whereby players can be bedded in much earlier and the names brought to the club are much more worthy in the eyes of the Emirates Stadium faithful.
The new man; Podolski is a head turning signing in the fact he is vastly experienced despite being only 26, an age recognised as a players ‘prime’ in modern day football. Furthermore, his goal scoring exploits speak for themselves with the Polish-born frontman striking 16 league goals this term, and in a struggling Cologne team. The player who will be able to play off the left hand side in the Gunners 4-3-3 formation, is likely to be presented even more chances to score, based upon Arsenal’s impressive assist tallies.
What’s more is that the striker is reported to be signing a deal worth some £100,000 a week. Whilst the £10 million capture of Podolski represents an ‘Arsenal’ signing in terms of its last year of contract affordability, the wages have certainly been anything but Arsenal-like.
With the clubs current top earner; Van Persie on £80,000 a week but set to be boosted to £100,000 in the summer, Podolski’s arrival on the highest wages reflects Wenger’s change of stance in that he is indeed willing to break the bank in some cases.
This news will be refreshing for Gunners fans everywhere with the arrival of a big name on big money, as opposed to a lesser name, on lesser wages with more time needed to develop in the English game. Whilst it remains to be seen how quick Podolski will adapt to the Premier League, it must be conceded that the Bundes Liga is much stronger than Ligue 1 and the flop signings of Marouane Chamakh and Park Chu Young have certainly been trumped by the new arrival.
The mark of any squad is indeed the strength and depth of it, and on Tuesday night, Chamakh and Park offered little when they were expected to give Arsenal more impetus in the search for that fourth equalising goal. Beyond Arsenal’s first eleven, the replacements haven’t always been up to scratch, but if we surmise that Van Persie will stay, the Gunners forward ranks will appear impressive next term with Podolski, Gervinho, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain forging the choices available to Wenger.
There might be another attacking arrival too if either Chamakh, Park or Arshavin depart and Arsenal fans have mooted moves for the much coveted Eden Hazard and Mario Gotze. Moves for such players of high calibre will not only impress fans but also might have the ability to keep the captain; Van Persie in North London.
It will certainly be an interesting summer yet again at the Emirates, and Lukas Podolski’s arrival maybe the first sign that an alarm clock has gone off in Arsene Wenger’s head in that he realises the club need to kick on and have a transition free campaign next time round.
What do you think of the Podolski signing? Will the club be able to keep hold of Van Persie with similar high calibre arrivals? Follow me @ http://twitter.com/Taylor_Will1989