Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may be sending Lukas Podolski to Serie A club Inter Milan on loan in January. While nothing official has been announced, Wenger’s comments about the amount of competition for spots with Mesut Ozil’s impending return combined with the fact that Podolski has yet to start all season long, have lent creedence to the thought that he might be willing to part with the bench-riding attacker. Most of the speculation and reports are pointing to a possible deal with Inter, though it has been suggested from at least one source that Galatasaray may be interested in throwing their hats into the ring as well.
The rumors surrounding the possible loan of Podolski are suggesting that the offered price would be £1.5 million for six months. The expectation is that, with Podolski’s contract up in 2016, Arsenal would like to see the move become permanent after the end of the loan period. One condition allegedly attached to the possible deal was that the loan not take place until after the match against Southampton on January 1, owing to the suspension of Olivier Giroud for that match for his Boxing Day ejection. Having yet to start Podolski all year, it is not likely that he would do so on New Year’s Day, but it is believable that Wenger would hedge his bets and keep him in reserve with Giroud out for the match.
To date, Wenger has been consistent in his message that he believed that Podolski had a role to play with Arsenal and their pursuit of a top-four finish. This week’s comments about nothing being settled with him in light of the return of Ozil and the heavy competition for spots was the first time that he gave any indication that it might not be the case any longer. It is hardly a conclusive confirmation, but it has encouraged many to pursue the reports in a few media outlets about the specifics of the supposed loan agreement closely. With the emergence of a few clubs expressing whispered interest in Podolski, it might be that the rumors were intended to do just that. With the reported terms of the possible deal being thrown about, those other interested clubs now have a frame of reference with which to approach Arsenal with offers when the transfer window opens. The games surrounding the transfer market are just beginning, and whether Inter has a leg up on the competition or not, until Wenger confirms a solid deal has been struck and signed, nothing is set in stone.
Public relations ploy and posturing aside, Podolski could be a good fit for the Serie A club if Arsenal does make a deal with them. He is a proven commodity up front, even if he has not had the opportunity to show it much at Emirates. If he can present himself well during a potential loan, it might well be that January 1 will be the last that fans see of him in the Premier League for a while. After the World Cup, the Serie A fans might not be unhappy with that prospect at all.
Commentary By Jim Malone
Image courtesy of Ronnie Macdonald – Flickr License