Lukas Podolski to Inter Milan: Arsene Wenger brands move for Arsenal forward 'a joke'

'Inter Milan not serious,' says Wenger over proposed move

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The Independent Online

Arsene Wenger this morning belittled Internazionale’s approach for Lukas Podolski as a “joke”.

The Italian giants are interested in Arsenal’s unsettled German striker and are hoping to take him to San Siro on loan for the rest of the season, although Arsenal want a permanent deal for the Germany international.

Speaking in his press conference at London Colney this morning, Wenger insisted that he would like Podolski to stay at the Emirates, but said that Inter’s interest had not yet turned into anything concrete enough to work with. “That is a joke,” Wenger said, when asked about the approach so far. “Inter Milan is not serious. They talk, there are only talks.”

Inter manager Roberto Mancini admitted last night that he was keen on signing Podolski, although the club, European champions just four years ago, are also interested in Paris Saint Germain’s Ezequiel Lavezzi. “Podolski is a good player,” Mancini told Sport Mediaset. "He is part of a list of players that we are following, so we will see what will come of it.”

Podolski has not started a single Premier League game so far this season, and just two in the cups, and is clearly not at the forefront of Wenger’s plans. While he is an effective substitute – scoring the crucial last-minute winner at Anderlecht in October – he is rarely trusted to start games any more.

Podolski has just 18 months left on the contract he signed after his £10million arrival from FC Koln in 2012.  There is little chance of an extension and Wenger said he would not countenance a loan deal for the 29-year-old, which would only diminish his value further. Arsenal want a firm cash offer, even if they are unlikely to get as much as £5million.

“He is a player of Arsenal Football Club and I want him to stay,” Wenger said about Podolski. “To be professional, as long as you are somewhere, you give your best.”

While Yaya Sanogo may go out on loan, that is not an option for Podolski. “I don’t doubt [the possibility of loan departures] in some positions where players need experience,” Wenger said. “That’s not the case for Podolski but players who need practice because they’re at a very young age like Sanogo is not impossible.”

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