Lukas Podolski Inter talks
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Lukas Podolski loan purchase is intriguing from Inter Milan

| 05.01.2015

Arsenal, 15/2 chances to retain the FA Cup with Coral, have allowed their World Cup-winning Germany forward Lukas Podolski to join Serie A giants Inter Milan on loan.

Pictures of Poland-born Podolski’s arrival at Milan airport, as above, surfaced over the weekend as the player draped himself in a scarf of the Nerazzurri’s colours.

This got Coral’s football experts thinking about not just why Podolski hast left the Emirates, but what he can offer Inter (and former Manchester City) manager Roberto Mancini now he’s switched to the San Siro?

Arsene Wenger recruited heavily by previous frugal standards this past summer, signing Chile international Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck, England’s top scorer in Euro 2016 qualifying, to complete an overhaul of the Arsenal attack.

While this was a necessity because of injuries to Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott, Podolski slipped down the pecking order as a result. He has played a full 90 minutes just twice for the Gunners this term, first against Southampton in a Capital One Cup loss and then in the last Champions League group stage outing against Galatasaray, where he scored twice.

Podolski’s seven Premier League appearances, all off the bench, total just over 100 minutes. He turns 30 this coming June and, at this stage of his career, needs regular first-team football to continue playing at the highest level.

In loaning him to Inter, Arsenal are not offloading Podolski onto a current European rival. Mancini only has Europa League action with the Nerazzurri to look forward to, though they are among the favourites to lift that trophy at 12/1.

Of Inter’s current three senior striking options, only Argentina international Mauro Icardi is in double figures across all competitions with 12. Compatriot Rodrigo Palacio has netted once this season so far, while Southampton loanee Pablo Daniel Osvaldo is on seven.

A strike-force that scored just 14 times between them in Serie A is not good enough for a side backed by wealthy Indonesian investor Erick Thohir. This is reflected in the Nerazzurri’s lowly league position of 11th at the winter break, six points shy of the European places and way off the pace set by leaders and Scudetto holders Juventus, with Roma close behind.

Mancini has been borrowing a page from fellow countryman Claudio Ranieri’s book, and tinkering with the Inter formation and personnel in search of a winning formula. A midfield diamond looked initially like the tactics he would choose, but there is also a touch of the Cesare Prandelli in what has looked like a pragmatic approach to differing opponents, plus juggling domestic and European commitments.

Adept up front, in behind as a number 10 or playing from the left flank, Podolski could fill a variety of roles in different set-ups while Mancini experiments. He may also prove the perfect foil and a mentor for 21-year-old Icardi, supporting him from the wing or up alongside the Argentine.

What may also be appealing about Italy to Podolski is the fact that some of the great German players of the modern era have plied their trade in Serie A. Rudi Voller spent five years at Roma in the late 1980s and early 90s, and this tradition has continued.

Jurgen Klinsmann famously played for Inter, Oliver Bierhoff at San Siro stadium sharers AC Milan, and Miroslav Klose, Podolski’s old teammate and strike partner for club and country, is on the books at Lazio. Even the gangly and injury-prone Mario Gomez, who replaced Podolski at Bayern Munich in the summer of 2009, makes Fiorentina’s first-team when fit.

His international record and global crown captured in Brazil puts Podolski in the same bracket as these legends, so why not do as they did or have done? Now he has made the winter window move to Inter, British eyes will swiftly fall on him again, as the Nerazzurri face a grudge last 32 Europa League tie with Celtic in February.



Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.