Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski may be among the most likeable footballers in the Premier League, but coach Arsene Wenger’s refusal to pick the 112-cap Germany international in big games gives credence to rumours that he could be shipped out as part of a deal for Schalke’s Julian Draxler this summer.
Podolski is likely to be overlooked once again when the Gunners take on his old club Bayern Munchen in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, with the visitors priced up at 8/1 to repeat last year’s efforts at the Allianz Arena by beating the current holders.
Wenger has rarely used the Die Mannschaft man as a centre-forward since he scored the only goal at home to FCB at this stage of this competition last season and a series of injuries has seen the 28-year-old drop behind Santi Cazorla in the left-wing pecking order.
Recent rumours that he could be used in a swap deal if the north Londoners renew their interest in long-term target Draxler over the summer were swiftly dismissed by the player, but Wenger’s reluctance to pick Podolski doesn’t bode well for his future at the club.
With extra competition for places in Arsenal’s attack practically guaranteed next season, it’s hard to see the Polish-born six footer sticking around the Emirates for much longer.
Furthermore, the potential acquisition of Draxler could provide cover in three different attacking positions, as Die Konigsblauen’s wunderkind can play on the left wing, in the number ten role behind the striker and is seen as a centre-forward in the making by the Gunners’ scouting network.
The 20-year-old had his best campaign in front of goal in 2012/13, with ten strikes in 30 Bundesliga outings and three more in cup competitions.
He’s turned provider from a more withdrawn position this season, with six assists and one goal in 17 league games, but after converting Thierry Henry from a winger to a striker during the Frenchman’s time in England, with incredible results, Wenger is hopeful of pulling off the same trick with Draxler, if he can be lured to north London.