Arsenal’s new recruit Lukas Podolski has assured fans that he could fill the boots of want away striker Robin Van Persie should the player leave this summer.
The 26 year old German forward sealed his move to the Emirates early in the summer from Cologne for a fee of £11.7m. The former Bayern player who plays on the left for his country expressed his desire to play alongside the prolific Dutchman but is confident of stepping up if he decides to leave. Van Persie, 28, chose to turn down the club’s new contract renewal offer after having held talks with the officials and is expected to leave before the transfer window closes.
He said: ‘All I can say is Van Persie had an amazing record last season and hopefully there is a way he can stay with Arsenal. It would be great to play with him, but obviously this is not in my control.’
As for himself, the forward added in an interview with ESPN: ‘I can play up front on my own, as a second striker or push forward on the left side of midfield.
‘So long as I am playing with adventure, get into position to score goals and give my all to the team then I can be satisfied.
‘That’s why I’m pleased to hear people suggest my defensive work has improved over the years. I have worked hard on this area of my game.’
The Germany star was also quick to jump into his manager’s defense after Arsene Wenger has come in for severe criticism for failing to keep hold of his stars and the club’s barren run in terms of trophies.
Podolski said: ‘He has a record getting Arsenal into the Champions League every season and his reputation in Germany and all over Europe is very strong.
‘What I like about him is his passion for attacking football. He aims to play with style and flair all the time. Those are his principles and he’ll never compromise on them.
‘Some people are disappointed with him, but they need to realise what a great coach they have.
‘Mr Wenger could have moved on to another club, I am sure, but instead chose to stay and build something over the long term.
‘He lives and dies by his own ideas and Arsenal is his baby. His reputation has been built on improving players and if he can help me take my game up a notch or two I’ll be delighted.
‘Back home in Germany, football people think very highly of Arsene Wenger. They listen to what he has to say and admire his achievements.’
The impact that the German star would have in England has been debated and the skeptics have often pointed out his dismal stint at Bayern. But the player remains confident to do well as he feels he is a much improved and matured player than what he was back in 2006.
He said: ‘I’m not one to look back and say “if only”, but maybe I was too young to do myself justice at a leading club like Bayern.
‘Now it’s a different story. I’m older, wiser and more mature. I have 100 caps for Germany and have seen so much more in this game. I can’t wait to get started in the Premier League.’