As we look back on a rather dull London derby last weekend (and listen to the endless hype regarding the Manchester derby next week), it seems that Arsenal has been working behind the scenes to finalise the Podolski deal.
We all know that Wenger wants him, and he wants us. I’m not one of those who believes the transfer was done and dusted months ago, because that’s not often the Arsenal way. However, we did sign Jenkinson very early and swiftly last year, so perhaps the Podolski deal has been similar.
The Metro has quoted Wenger as saying:
“Yes [we want Podolski].
“We want to add some offensive strikers, because many times people say we rely too much on Van Persie, which is true, but if we can find world-class players, we will [challenge for the title].”
It has been mooted that the deal hasn’t been announced due to Koln’s reluctance to further irritate their fans who are already angry as their team languish near the bottom of the league.
I have no doubt that Arsenal would, as Wenger stated, challenge for the title if a few key additions were made. But the signing of Podolski does beg the following questions – where will he play and what becomes of Park and Chamakh?
Firstly, he could play out on the left of a 4-3-3 as he does for Germany. He is a natural finisher, and will undoubtedly score goals from out wide as Walcott has done for us this season. However, if he is deployed on the wing, that leaves Arsenal with a conundrum – too many wingers! We could have Podolski, Theo, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Ryo and Arshavin fighting for just two spots. Although Arshavin is likely to leave this summer, we would also have to send Ryo on loan again to make space for Podolski as a wide man. Four wingers would be a perfect for a squad that plays a 4-3-3 and is involved in as many games as Arsenal often is.
The second question requires little debate, although the issue is how to get rid of them. Park and Chamakh are almost certainly on their way out of the club (unless Park fancies another season on the bench!). But they are on inflated wages at Arsenal, and we would probably have to take a cut-price deal to sell them.
Whatever happens, these issues seem to be problems for the future because the official announcement of the Podolski deal seems to be drawing nearer every day. However, I do hope he will get the chance to play alongside our captain, the winner of the PFA Player of the Year who has reiterated his desire to leave contract talks until the summer.