Lukas Podolski has insisted that he never wanted to leave Arsenal, but he grew frustrated with his limited playing time.
The 34 year-old is currently plying his trade in Turkey with Antalyaspor having joined on a free transfer in January from Japanese side Vissel Kobe.
The German forward was just starting to settle into his new role, scoring twice in his six appearances before the Coronavirus put a halt on football across Europe, and has since been put into lockdown along with many other countries.
Whilst in lockdown, he has spoken to Arsenal about his stint with our club, and revealed that he never really wanted to leave, but grew frustrated with being overlooked all-too often.
“There are always some things,” Podolski said. “You weren’t happy because you’re not playing, maybe the coach isn’t happy because you’re not playing how he wants, maybe he sees another player above you?
“I don’t know. I had some games I played very well, I scored goals or played well and the next match I was sitting on the bench again. That’s why I started thinking, ‘I’m going to have to change this situation.’ I was thinking I was ready for Arsenal, I was thinking I was ready for the starting XI or to come on earlier but it was not like that.
“For any reason it sometimes happens like that in football or sport and that’s why I decided to move. This is life, this is sport, I didn’t want to but I had to because I wanted to play football. I wanted to be on the pitch but I would have loved to stay at Arsenal for a couple more years because I felt really great there.
“The team, the stuff around the team and everyone at the club was so friendly – like a family. Great fans, great city, the stadium – everything! I really enjoyed it but in the end it is like it is.
“I had some talks with Arsene about my situation and I told him, ‘I want to play, I want to come on earlier’ and of course, he’s the coach, he has to decide, he can’t promise players a bonus or to always play. No coach gives you that. So I decided for myself to move forward.”
Podolski’s ability was never questioned, and he was known for his frightening left boot and his goalscoring prowess. It’s a shame that we couldn’t find a consistent role in our first-team for him, but we understandably had a number of alternatives for his favoured role out on the wide left.
You cannot blame Lukas for leaving in order to play more regularly, but should he have stayed a little longer to fight for his place?