10 Things We Learnt In Lockdown With Podolski by Dan Smith
Does anyone else wish Lukas Podolski had stayed at Arsenal a couple of years longer? Or even better we had bought him sooner? He had the personality and character that our dressing room has often lacked and maybe Arsene Wenger gave up on him a bit too soon? He started our FA Cup win over Hull, ending our 9 year wait for a trophy.
Here are 10 Things We Learnt In Lockdown With Podolski
He Wasn’t Told About Arsenal’s Plans
When we signed Podolski, Van Persie was still at the club, with Arsene Wenger insisting his starting striker was not leaving. We were told Podolski was coming to play with the Dutchman, not replace him, yet when we got 23 million from Man United, we were told we didn’t need to spend that money because we already had brought in a replacement?
From the players point of view, he was so happy to have Arsenal interested that he was given little guarantees, nor did he seek them. We would lose Van Persie and Song within a few weeks of his arrival.
He Was Fan Friendly
Players say fans are important to them yet with Podolski you feel he really means it. He passionately talks about whatever club he joins; the priority is always to get to know the environment he lives in and make a bond with the supporters. He was only a Gunner for two and a half years yet in his house has a framed shirt of when scoring his first goal for us, as well as a picture of celebrating a win at the Lane.
Winning Trophies Is Not Everything
The German has a refreshing approach towards the game. He has never let the pressure of winning medals consume him but feels being happy and content means the rest will follow. What he enjoys about being a footballer is it has allowed him the chance to travel the world and learn new cultures.
While some of his peers like to go clubbing or play FIFA, Podolski has used his spare time to understand the world of business. His portfolio reads owning a Kebab and Ice Cream outlet in Germany as well as leading a foundation to prevent poverty.
He Was Not A Striker
Despite scoring 197 goals in 533 games, he always feels he has had to defend his strike record. Whatever club he joins he feels the media expect him to be the man who gets 25-30 goals a season, to which he had to explain he’s never claimed to be a striker. In fact, at Arsenal he mostly started on the left. That is funny because Arsene Wenger, at the time, said signing Podolski meant he didn’t need to buy a replacement for Van Persie?
World Cup Didn’t Change Him
There was the perception that our three World Cup winners in 2014 took a while to refind their focus after becoming heroes back in Germany. Arsenal Wenger was accused of over protecting them by giving them an extended pre-season and managing their game time. That’s not what Podolski wanted though. He understood it was a personal achievement which had zero impact on his club. He wanted to take that momentum and let Arsenal benefit from it.
He Wanted To Stay
If he had his way, he would have stayed for a couple more years. Despite scoring 16 and 12 times in his previous two seasons he suddenly was behind Sanogo and Welbeck in the pecking order. Even with Giroud injured for most of the season he wasn’t getting the game time he wanted. He felt the writing was on the wall when in the few starts he did have he would score, yet it wouldn’t change him being on the bench the next game. He made it clear to Mr Wenger he wanted to stay but he needed more of an opportunity.
You assume Podolski has the personality where he doesn’t do regret. He clearly respects Mr Wenger, but you sense he kind of wishes there was an explanation to why he was suddenly frozen out. He is proud of his goal/start ratio and while understanding he couldn’t be given guarantees, he clearly didn’t understand why he was now deemed not good enough
He Knew He Wasn’t Coming Back
Throughout the Lockdown series the likes of Szczesny and Senderos have spoken about viewing a loan as the chance to convince Arsene Wenger they deserve another chance. Podolski never viewed it like that, feeling once you’re out of sight your out of mind. He says it’s very hard when your away from a squad for them not to move on without you.
He Would Never Do A Loan Again
Podolski describes his loan to Inter Milan as ‘nothing’. He arrived with an injury giving him just a couple of months to get to know his teammates and adjust to a new country at which point the loan was over. Therefore, he claims he would never agree to a loan again.
What did you think of Podolski?