See it seems this morning that both Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo are set to leave Arsenal on loan until the end of the season to Inter Milan and Bordeaux respectively. What began as a reply on the She Wore Facebook page has ended up growing into a blog on the matter.
Firstly, I think both would have left in the summer, however the injury to Olivier Giroud (before we signed Welbeck) left us short and both remained. Sanogo was clearly in need of game time and Podolski had been surplus to requirement for some time, having been on the verge of leaving in the summer of 2013.
For one reason or another, neither’s Arsenal career has exactly hit the highs expected of them.
Yaya Sanogo has a lot of natural ability. Anyone who has seen him for France U21s will agree. The problem is he needs game time and to stay injury free.
Even before he joined us, he had injury problems. This led him to admit that he once considered quitting football:
‘I told my mum that because of my injuries I wanted to quit, I told her that I was ready to give up and go and work in the post office.’
Through no fault of his own, he was already starting his Arsenal career on the back foot.
Being part of the colossal mess up of a transfer window that was 2013, where we chased Steven Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez, the signing of a 20 year old French youth international on a free, alongside his post office comment, led to cruel mocking from Arsenal fans that all we had ended up with was a postman.
I could understand fans frustration’s, but they were targeted at the wrong man. Sanogo did nothing wrong. He was merely signed to the club, but became a scape goat. The anger should have been at Arsene Wenger, who failed to reinforce a sub-par forward line.
Sanogo’s signing should have been under the radar. A talented youth international who, given the right nurturing and time, could become a key squad player, but circumstances beyond his control thrust him into the lime light and onto the pitch when he clearly was not ready. It was not his fault.
If he gets game time and remains injury free in France, he will score goals. I think he could return as a good squad player, and even if he is not good enough, wish him well. This is a kid who was just the wrong person at the wrong time.
As for Lukas Podolski, it is not really a mystery as to what has happened to him.
When we signed him, many spoke of a big risk, that he had not done it at his previous big club – Bayern Munich. Arsene Wenger probably thought he could bring his international form out of him. Unfortunately, despite showing glimpses, the same criticisms he suffered at Munich reared their ugly head. That he does not affect a game enough.
Podolski was always at his best (for Germany) playing alongside a big man (Klose) but two upfront is no longer in vogue. He is not quick enough, has enough skill, or good enough crossing to play wide left, and does not have the physicality or speed to play up top on his own. His one dimensional game is outdated with current formations. It is the reason why someone as talented as Jermaine Defoe is playing in America rather than the Premier League.
Arsene Wenger has come in for a lot of criticism from fans for ‘ruining’ Lukas Podolski, but I will defend him a bit here. Yes, he could have played him more, but the fact the Podolski has had the same issues at Arsenal as he did at Munich shows it is the player, not the manager.
Imagine an employee who blames his manager for his failings. He joins a new company, stating his under performance was due to poor management at the previous company. When at the new company, he shows the same failings again. Is it managerial issues at the new company? Or is it infact issues with the employee?
It is the later, and Podolski fits into the same bracket.
At Munich, Podolski played 71 league games scoring 15 goals. At Arsenal it is 59 league games and 19 goals.
At Munich he was manager by Omar Hitzfeld, Jurgen Klinsmann and Jupp Heynckes. At Arsenal he has been under Arsene Wenger. These managers have overseen:
16 league titles
12 Domestic Cups
4 Champions Leagues
154 international games
Maybe the reasoning behind Podolski’s failing at Arsenal and Bayern Munich is not the managers, but the player himself?
Of course, you could be petty and blame Arsene Wenger as he was the man who signed Podolski knowing his struggles at Munich. But that is petty and criticism for the sake of criticism.
Podolski has got a lot of love recently, but this is more due to his antics then his footballing ability. His instagram account, his tweets, his celebrations at Spurs. Maybe had he worked as hard on the football pitch to please fans as he did off it, he would have had a better Arsenal career?
I guess what sums up Podolski’s career at Arsenal for me is the away match against Galatasaray. Yes, he scored 2 great goals, but he was playing left wing. He attempted 0 crosses. This supports the analogy that if he is not scoring, he is not doing much else.
Good luck to both, but ultimately neither are Arsenal quality.
The big question is whether either will now get replaced. The answer is probably no.
On one hand, we do not need to bring in like for like. Between them, they have 239 minutes of Premier League football under their belt this season. With the likes of Sanchez, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Campbell and Gnabry in competition with Podolski for a place on the wing, and many of the above mentioned and Welbeck and Giroud competing up top, we are set for attacking players – unless a truly World Class striker is available.
We are still in need in defensive positions. The extra centre back and defensive midfielder. It is here we are likely to strengthen – using the wages saved from Podolski to reinforce. Personally, I would not be too surprised to see us buy a stop gap ‘utility man’ like Loic Perin who can cover right back, centre back and central midfield.
I doubt we will do much in January – we rarely do anything.
One a side note, the BBC have published an alternative league table this morning just for the 2014 calender year. No prizes for guessing where we finished…
Have a good New Years Eve, I am off to Southampton for the night before the game tomorrow. Good luck for 2015!
Up the Arsenal!