Emirates Stadium boss closes in on striker.
ARSENE WENGER had Cologne striker Lukas Podolski watched on Friday night as he considers how to lift the considerable workload on Robin van Persie.
Dutchman Robin Van Persie will be given the first of a series of mini-breaks set out for him in tonight’s Carling Cup quarter-final against Manchester City.
Arsenal have monitored Podolski since the start of the campaign after the Germany international performed well against the Gunners in pre-season, and sent a scout to watch Cologne’s 3-0 home loss to Borussia Monchengladbach.
Wenger has also been alerted that Podolski’s contract expires in 2013 and, like Van Persie at Arsenal, he has not yet discussed a new deal.
A Cologne source told the Daily Express: “We are aware Arsenal are watching Podolski and they were at Friday’s game.” Podolski, who emerged unhurt from a car accident driving to training yesterday, said: “My family and friends may live here and I know every corner of the city, but if I am in top condition, I could fit into any side in Europe.”
According to some German sources Arsenal are already in talks with Cologne about completing a deal worth around £18m to sign Lukas Podolski, who may well be the ideal man to lead the Gunners line with Robin Van Persie. The Bundesliga club appear ready to let their former youth team player leave just so long as they get the asking price they are after.
The 26 year old returned to the RheinEnergieStadion in January 2009 after a patchy three year spell at Bayern Munich, that included the German international suffering the ignominy of being farmed out to the Bavarian club’s second string.
Podolski has been in good form of late, notching up nine goals in 12 Bundesliga matches this season but it’s perhaps the adaptable attackers German national team form that is most impressive. The Polish born forward has scored 43 times in 95 appearances for Die Mannschaft and is now the sixth highest scorer in German national team history, despite being more than six months short of his 27th birthday.
Arsene Wenger has brought in a number of striking options over the past 18 months without any of these signings managing to forge an effective partnership with Robin Van Persie. Marouane Chamakh’s only good period of form occurred when the Dutchman was out injured at the beginning of last term and the Moroccan has been in poor form for the past year.
Gervinho was brought in from Lille but has failed to impress on a consistent basis and being incredibly wasteful in front of goal. Park Chu-Young is yet to start a minute of Premier League football. Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela are currently out on loan and are reportedly unlikely to return.