Lukas Podolski never close to leaving Arsenal, says Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger says he can understand why Germany striker is frustrated
Arsene Wenger has insisted Lukas Podolski was never close to leaving Arsenal in the summer transfer window.
The Germany international came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner to help the Gunners win 2-1 at Anderlecht in Champions League Group B.
Podolski has found his first-team opportunities limited this season, prompting the 29-year-old to suggest that he could leave in January.
But Arsenal manager Wenger underlined that Podolski will have an important role to play at the north London club in the coming months.
“He was never close to leaving. He has 115 caps for Germany – that is not a coincidence, that shows you his quality,” Wenger said.
“I think he is a guy you want to have the ball in the box. His shot is fantastic, his accuracy is great and he has very short back lift. He nearly scored before and I know when he comes on he can score.”
Wenger added: “We know Podolski can always score. He is frustrated and I understand that of course.
“But he’s important as well and he showed that tonight and he will be important in the coming months. It took him a while to get back to a good physical level [after the World Cup] and now he’s nearly there.”