Lukas Podolski says phone chats with German-speaking Arsene Wenger helped convince him to move to Arsenal. Germany striker Podolski, 27, will hook up with the manager and his new team-mates once Euro2012 has concluded and he admits he is looking forward to the new challenge ahead after his switch from FC Köln.
And he adds that the chance to work under Wenger was one of the attractions of moving to the Emirates – along with conversations with Germany and now Gunners team-mate Per Mertesacker. “Wenger has been a very successful coach both in Europe and around the world,” Podolski told the Official Arsenal Magazine. “This definitely helped in making my decision.
“He speaks several languages, and German in particular, which is very helpful. We have spoken to each other on the telephone a few times, which was very good and also made my decision even easier. I speak to Per whenever we meet,” added Podolski, who scored on his 100th appearance for his country against Denmark on Sunday.
“Per has mentioned things about the club’s organisation, the training ground and the fans, and this has really helped. It might have influenced me to a certain extent, but in the end of course I took the decision to come here myself.”
Podolski – who will be in action for Germany against Greece tomorrow night in the Euro quarter finals – has spent his career in the Bundesliga but says he is confident he will be able to flourish in the Premier League. He added: “I do think that the Bundesliga has done a lot of catching up in recent years and is no longer that far away from the highest level.
“But England still has the strongest and most attractive league in my opinion. The Premier League has very good stadiums, and the stronger clubs as a whole, and I’m sure I’m going to be involved in some exciting matches. I think I will adapt relatively quickly. I’m a player who plays in a similar style. They play fast in England, score lots of goals, there are tough battles. I enjoy this style of football, so from that point of view, I think I will become accustomed to it all in a fairly short time.”
CARL ELDRIDGE – on Twitter @Eldomedia