Transfer news: Lukas Podolski rubbishes rumours that Arsenal could use him to land Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler
Arsenal saw a January pursuit of the Germany international fail and Podolski admits that a swap was never on the cards, claiming they haven't spoken about a move to Arsenal
Tuesday 11 March 2014
Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has rubbished suggestions he could be used as a makeweight in an attempted deal to land January target Julian Draxler, but admitted that his countryman is good enough to attract the attentions of leading clubs such as the Gunners.
The Premier League side saw their attempts to land the 20-year-old in January scuppered when Schalke refused to lower their valuation of Draxler, holding out for his £37.2m release clause that Arsenal apparently failed to activate.
Despite having a wealth of talent from their attacking midfielders – with Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey just a selection of those that can play behind the striker – Arsene Wenger was keen to add Draxler for the second half of the season, with his ability to also cover as a makeshift striker an added bonus.
Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Podolski played down talks that an exchange was ever on the cards, and revealed his admiration for the young German who looks set for big things in the future.
“Every top player is interesting for Arsenal, Draxler is definitely one of them,” said Podolski.
“But what the management are planning, I cannot say. An exchange deal of Podolski for Draxler has been described in some media but it was never an issue. I have contact with Julian, he's a good boy. But about a switch [to Arsenal] we have not yet spoken.”
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Despite being 28-years-old, Podolski already has 111 international caps to his name, and he has recently been joined in the Germany side by Draxler, who has 10 caps to his name having featured occasionally in their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign.
Podolski has returned to his homeland with the Gunners as they prepare for their Champions League last-16 second leg clash with Bayern Munich, in which Arsene Wenger’s side must overturn the 2-0 defeat they suffered at the Emirates.
Having previously played for Bayern, Podolski knows the pressure of playing in the Allianz Arena, but he has identified the first 15 minutes of the first leg as an example that Arsenal can get the better of Bayern, just like they did last season.
“It is not easy, especially not after the 0-2 in the first leg. They are arguably the best club team in the world,” Podolski accepted.
“But the first 15 minutes of the first leg (when Mesut Ozil missed a penalty) showed that they can be stopped. We need to put everything into the game, go in with the right aggressiveness and then score.”
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