Surprisingly for a Thursday, we have quite a lot to hack through. Normally it’s just boring Europa League on a Thursday, not that I ever covered it, you must understand!
Anyway, a mixture of Per Mertesacker and BBC Sport has revealed that Arsenal are close to agreeing a deal for Germany and Cologne striker, Lukas Podolski. It’s been said that Podolski has already agreed personal terms believed to be £100,000 a week. Jamie Sanderson, owner of ‘Young Guns Blog’ and writer for The Independent, has also reported that Arsenal will continue negotiations over Podolski with Cologne today as Arsenal work to get their man before the summer transfer window even begins.
This fits in nicely with what Le Grove have been saying in recent weeks, when Pedro stated that Arsenal were looking at big names from both France and Germany before the transfer window opens. As to who the French player is, remains open to speculation, but Lukas Podolski looks to be the (or one of) German player Arsenal are targeting to bolster their squad.
Over the past two seasons, Podolski has been in great form for FC Cologne, scoring sixteen goals in twenty appearances so far this season, assisting four. In 2010/11, Podolski netted thirteen times in thirty-two appearances, assisting another four. Finally, it would seem that after years of playing well for country but not club, that Podolski has found himself able to replicate his form with Germany, to domestic football with Cologne.
With Germany, Podolski has been nothing but prolific, making an outstanding 95 appearances for Germany, scoring 43 goals in that time. If you account for any assists made by Podolski in that time, you are faced with truly staggering statistics.
Many people point to the fact Podolski failed at Bayern Munich, but don’t forget that when Podolski first joined Bayern Munich, he was still trying to establish himself and that transfer came far too early in Podolski’s career. Rather than develop his game in healthy fashion with Cologne, Podolski was thrust into the limelight by Bayern Munich. For a player in his early twenties, Podolski still did well for a young player. Whilst his goal returns were only modest, those are statistics fitting of a young player. Podolski’s time at Bayern Munich is often blown wildly out of proportion.
So, for the people who believe that Podolski, ‘failed at his last big club’ and will do so again, they are very wrong. Now matured, Podolski is in the prime of his career and finally ready to play for a big club and Arsenal are to be the beneficiaries of Podolski’s talents.
Also, Podolski moving to Arsenal will save Mertesacker a bomb in text messages! Everybody wins!
In other news, Lionel Messi scored five against Bayer Leverkusen last night to help Barcelona to a 7-1 victory. In annoying fashion, I went to cover for a friend’s five-a-side team, who as it turns out, played on some weird astro-turf covered in sand. As I was wearing the wrong sort of footwear, it was very hard for me not to fall over, so last night was a disaster!
When I got home you could have imagined my misery when I found out I’d missed a 7-1 thriller on ITV and five goals from Messi.
Five goals in one match, in Champions League competition, means Lionel Messi is the first player to accomplish such an achievement and just rubber stamps his status as, ‘greatest player of all time’. I’ve never seen any player able to perform at a level comparable to Messi, no one can touch him.
Pelé, Maradona, George Best and every other player you can think of, just do not come close. I will always argue that modern football players are vastly superior to those of twenty, thirty years ago. Football is at such an advanced level now, that nobody from a bygone era could keep up, which isn’t to say they’re bad players, just not as good as what is being churned out at the top level now.
Finally, I’ll finish with Apoel Nicosia, the team from Cyrpus who have played their way to the Champions League Quarter-Final stages having triumphed 4-3 on penalties against Lyon last night.
Of the remaining teams left, Apoel are the youngest team left in the competition, having been founded as recent as 1926. A quick look at Apoel’s Wikipedia page (I know) tells me that the 90′s was Apoel’s most successful period, having won twelve domestic trophies and finished a season unbeaten.
Whilst I really have nothing more to say on Apoel, I really do hope the fairytale continues as long as possible.
That’s your lot for today!