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Podolski signing confirmed: a statement of intent?

Yesterday Arsene Wenger made it quite clear we were a team that was far too reliant on the goals of Robin van Persie.

Yesterday Arsene Wenger said there was nothing we could do about it until the end of the season and he urged the captain to drag us over the line into third place.

Yesterday, he did something about it, for next season at least, by finalising the signing of Lukas Podolski from Cologne. Like most every other signing it comes with what should be a well-used acronym OALTCFAUF (On A Long Term Contract For An Undisclosed Fee) with the manager obviously pleased at his work:

We are delighted to secure the deal for Lukas and see him as an important part of our future. He is a top-class player, a very good finisher and a proven performer at club and international level. He is a very strong player and will provide us with good attacking options.

We are happy to have made this signing early

While the player, still focused on his efforts with his German side this season, said:

I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal Football Club and to play in the Premier League. Arsenal is one of the top clubs in Europe with a huge history. There are many top quality players at Arsenal and the style of football which the team plays is fantastic.

I’m proud to become an Arsenal player and am looking forward to playing my first match at Emirates Stadium and doing my best for all the Arsenal fans.

Which is exactly what you’d expect any new player to say but it’s always nice to hear. So what have we got? I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert of all a sudden, if you want insight into his character and career then this piece by Raphael Honigstein is a good start, but clearly we’ve bought a name and a player most people will be well aware of.

95 caps and 43 goals for Germany means he’s not somebody who has flown under the radar, he’s well known, hugely experienced, can obviously score goals and at 26 is pretty much the ‘right’ age to make a move like this. A move earlier in his career to Bayern Munich didn’t work out but he wouldn’t be alone in not succeeding at a club to which he made a high profile move.

In fact, two of our very best players ever came to us off the back of disastrous times elsewhere. Bergkamp’s time at Inter was fraught for many reasons, while Thierry Henry was deployed as a wing-back at Juventus before joining us and becoming our record goalscorer. Now, I’m not saying he’s going to match their feats, just saying that one failed transfer move doesn’t mean he’s unable to play out of his comfort zone, as some suggest.

As for what he brings to the team, pace, power, strength and a left foot that packs a real punch. If I were Gervinho this morning I would be watching on in relative horror because he’ll probably play on the left hand side of the attacking trio, providing us with somebody who can go outside rather than a right footed player who nearly always cuts back inside. I’m not Gervinho though so having an extra/better option there is good.

But he’s also capable of playing the central striking role, providing the manager with a chance to rest Robin if need be. And here’s the fear part – people will think that Podolski is a replacement for van Persie but I’m 100% sure he’s not been bought as that, even if it might – and let’s be realistic – turn out that way. Ideally he’s here to augment the Dutchman and the bottom line for me is that he’s a better option than Chamakh, a better option than Park, and a better option than Gervinho. In which case he makes us better as a team.

We needed to improve our striking options and we’ve done that. He’ll have the BFG to help him settle in and while his arrival will likely be delayed due to the Euros, we’ve pretty much broken the Arsenal mould by making the signing as early as this. I can’t really remember us doing such a high profile piece of transfer business before the end of the season before, and if that signals a change in the way we operate then it can only be a good thing.

The club have acted decisively after last summer’s madness and it makes a pleasant change. The proof of the pudding, however, will be how the rest of the business we need to do is carried out. With a number of the players we’re linked strongly with at the European Championships – and national sides most likely preventing their players from engaging in negotiations/transfer business during that time – getting as much done before they go to Poland/Ukraine will be important. That goes for our renewals too.

Making one timely signing while we dilly-dally over the rest would be a poor return to old form, and we’ve also got to take into account that we’re going to need to sell some players before we can bring in new ones. So let’s hope that Dick Law and Ivan haven’t booked a camping trip in June.

Overall, this is good news in my book. Everyone loves a new player, it energises the fans and the team, and hopefully we’ll see Podolski’s peak over the next few seasons. Welcome to The Arsenal, Lukas.

As you’d expect this has pretty much dominated the news this morning so there’s not a great deal else going on. If you missed it yesterday though, Arseblog has now launched in Chinese, so both the daily blog and Arseblog News will be available in Chinese, hopefully finding and converting new Gooners across the globe. Fingers crossed anyway.

Right, that’s yer lot, it’s another miserable day here in Dublin, the first of May and it’s teeming down. Welcome to summer.

More tomorrow.

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Fan of Arsenal, Robert Pires and most everything to do with rum and whiskey. Writer, podcaster, ace flintknapper, sluggish centre-half. Smiter of those that ought to be smote.