Wenger wants Podolski to lead the line

Arsene Wenger has insisted that he intends to use new signing Lukas Podolski as a centre-forward.

The German made his Premier League debut in the 0-0 draw at the Emirates against Sunderland on Saturday and started the game as a lone striker.

The former FC Koln captain has been used by club and country as a left winger in recent seasons, but following the departure of Robin van Persie, Wenger has made it clear that he wants Podolski to play down the middle.

“I see him as a centre forward but he has some work to do, to change his game a little bit, make runs in behind to protect the ball and move around the box,” Wenger told the club’s official website.

“When you come from a wide position, it is not easy to do that. But he will get there. He is a fantastic finisher, but had no real opportunity [against Sunderland].

“I will have to watch the game again and see what he did when we had the ball. I will have to study it.”

With RVP leaving, Arsenal have been left with only Olivier Giroud as a recognised centre-forward, who came off the bench to miss a sitter in the second-half on Saturday.

Nicklas Bendtner and Ju Young Park are likely to leave the club while Wenger is reluctant to trust Marouanne Chamakh to lead the line after his abysmal last 18 months at the Emirates.

And with Carlos Vela having also left North London, Wenger has been forced to move Podolski from the left wing into the middle.

Rumour has it that we are sniffing around Fernando Llorente after the Bilbao boss claimed that he had played his last game for the club, but we will face competition from Juventus for his signature.

I can’t see it happening personally, but you can always hope.

Matt Cotton


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