Arsenal are notorious for bringing in foreign imports to the Premier League and turning them into global superstars.
Emmanuel Petit, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, Freddie Ljungberg and Thierry Henry immediately spring to mind. Now, after calls from the fans and the board of directors at the Gunners, the latest trend for the North Londoners is to buy already established stars in order for them to claim their first Premier League title for the first time since 2004.
The likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have forced manager Arsene Wenger into putting his hands in his pockets and splashing more cash than he has done in the past. Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis said in a recent interview with the BBC: “The last five years of unlocking our international and our commercial revenues is so important for the club. It allows us to go out and, if the manager believes in someone like Mesut Ozil, he can buy him.
“It’s the same with Alexis Sanchez. Unlike the situation two or three years ago when we were really financially challenged and losing our top players, we are signing our top players to long-term contracts – guys like Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.”
However, one player signing that was considered one of the best attackers in Germany but has struggled since he arrived in England in 2012 is Lukas Podolski. The former Bayern Munich ace was a signing from his beloved FC Koln after a disappointing spell with the German champions, only managing 71 appearances in three years at the Allianz Arena.
Despite having a thunderous left foot strike, a good eye for a pass and is good in the air, it looks as though the German is now surplus to requirements at the Emirates Stadium. Podolski endured his most frustrating spell in an Arsenal shirt in 2013/2014 where injuries came back to haunt him, only managing 14 appearances including six off the bench. The quality of a player like Podolski is still there, still managing to score eight goals and make two assists in that season. The 29-year-old World Cup winner has played just 128 minutes of football in this current campaign, and has already stated that he might have to leave in order to gain regular first team action.
The arrival of Sanchez and fellow compatriot Ozil has prompted in Podolski’s only real involvement this year is from the bench, or even worse, out of the match day squad all together. With the inevitable return of winger Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck acting as Arsenal’s main striker outlet, seeing Podolski back in an Arsenal strip is looking more and more unlikely.
Failure to beat Southampton in the Capital One Cup third round is even more bad news for the German, considering it is his only chance of gaining valuable minutes on the pitch.