According to Lukas Podolski, his Arsenal career isn’t over just yet, but nothing is certain.
“The way things are now, I’d have to return to London in the summer,” Podolski told German publication Kicker. “They will discuss this in March or April since the season will end in May.”
With the German winger on loan at Inter, he has been left off the club’s Europa League squad for the tournament’s knockout stage. The competition’s rules state clubs can only take add three players to the knockout stage roster who weren’t on it before, but only “one player from the above quota of three who has been fielded in a UEFA club competition group stage match for another club in the current season may exceptionally be registered.”
That meant Inter could only take one of Podolski or Xherdan Shaqiri, and they went for the Swiss midfielder. But according to Podolski, things are business as usual and there’s nothing to worry about.
“Many said that I failed because I wasn’t included in Inter’s squad list for the Europa League,” said Podolski. “But this was all arranged from the moment the contract was signed. I know there will always be criticism but it’s important to discern what is right from what is wrong.”
It’s been up and down for Podolski in Italy. Inter sits in a massively disappointing 10th position in the Serie A table, and the 29-year-old has yet to score for his new club in six league appearances. He’s been a part of two wins, two draws, and two losses, and has been moderately influential with eight chances created, an assist, and three completed take-ons.
“I’ve been welcomed very well,” Podolski said. “Things are different compared to London but I haven’t experienced any difficulty. We need to pick up the necessary points over the next few matches. There are enough games to reach our objectives. Personally I feel that I am fast approaching my best form. Football here has a heavy tactical slant and is based on results. The matches are always very tough and the adversaries all very hard to play against.”
Back when he moved to Inter, Podolski made comments about Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and why he may not have stuck in with the Gunners as much as fans would have hoped. “He said nothing to me,” Podolski said on January 9. “He did not call me or say goodbye. I don’t need flowers or a kiss from him. But it is about respect, about saying goodbye. For me, respect is important. I did everything for the club I possibly could have. I don’t believe I did anything wrong. I wish all of Arsenal and their amazing fans the very best for this season, and I see myself as a Gunner. Nothing from him to me, though — but that is his way.”
Now though, he backtracked from that and said there are no problems between the two. “I never had a problem with Arsene Wenger nor with the [Arsenal] fans,” Podolski told Kicker. Reports say Podolski’s loan deal with Inter has an option to buy for the summer.