The emergence of Aaron Ramsey as an attacking force for Arsenal has taken the sting out of Lukas Podolski’s early-season injury and the German international could be tempted to leave north London in January, with Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid thought to be readying bids for the goal-getter.
Arsenal are 39/20 underdogs at home to Chelsea in the Capital One Cup fourth round, but the hamstring strain he picked up in August means Podolski will again play no part in the match.
Germany and Spain’s second-placed teams could both be looking for new first-choice forwards soon.
Robert Lewandowski’s stock continues to rise, with the Polish striker grabbing his ninth goal for Dortmund this season in their 2-1 Champions League win at Arsenal and he is widely expected to leave for one of Europe’s wealthiest clubs when his contract runs out next summer if not before.
Meanwhile, Atleti know that they will have to fight hard to keep hold of Diego Costa as La Liga’s top-scorer so far this season is coveted by Chelsea and Liverpool and is likely to be in the World Cup 2014 shop window with either his native Brazil or adopted country Spain.
After a disappointing beginning to life at the Emirates Podolski ended last season with 16 goals for Arsenal in all competitions.
Arsene Wenger knew purchasing the 28-year-old Polish-born Germany international was a risk as Podolski had struggled for goals during a three-year spell at Bayern Munich and eyebrows were raised when he only found the net four times in his first 14 appearances for the north Londoners.
However, the forward came to life in December and struck six times in an 11 game period, including against Bayern in the Champions League and finished the campaign with nine Premier League assists.
Despite starting the season in cracking form before injury struck Podolski will struggle to get back into the Arsenal first team.
Podolski capped an excellent display of attacking prowess in Arsenal’s 3-1 away win against Fulham in August with two goals, but the striker’s season was interrupted in the following game at Fenerbahce in the final Champions League qualifying round.
Injury has ruled Podolski out since and he is far from certain to force himself back into Wenger’s first-team thinking, with Arsenal currently leading the Premier League and competition for his left-forward position from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla (both of whom are also returning from injury lay-offs) and 18-year-old fellow German Serge Gnabry.