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Podolski will be a big hit in the Premier League at Arsenal, says Woodcock

Podolski will be a big hit in the Premier League at Arsenal, says Woodcock

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Former Gunners and Koln striker believes 26-year-old German international has timed his move to Emirates to perfection but is unsure if move will persuade Robin van Persie to stay

EXCLUSIVE
By Rob Stewart

Former Arsenal and Koln striker Tony Woodcock has backed Germany international Lukas Podolski to “make a big impact” at Arsenal after his move from the Bundesliga club to the Emirates was confirmed.

Woodcock is certain that the 26-year-old has the ability, the physical attributes and the experience to prosper when he arrives in England this summer after a transfer for an undisclosed fee was agreed between the two clubs.

“Lukas is a very, very good player and I am sure that he will be a success at Arsenal so the fans should be very excited at the prospect of him joining their club,” Woodcock told Goal.com.

“I am certain that he will do very well in the Premier League because of the timing. This is the perfect time for Lukas to be making the switch from German to English football and it is a great move for the club and for the player himself.

“He is only 26 but he has plenty of experience from his time with Koln, Bayern Munich and with the German national side – he has got almost 100 caps and he is still relatively young - and this is the right time for him to go to Arsenal and the right place.”

Reports suggest that Arsenal have had to pay €13.5 million (£11m) for Podolski, who will represent his country at Euro 2012 but only after trying to steer Koln clear of relegation.

“Not only does Lukas have the ability and the experience to make a big impact in English football but he is physically robust and very quick and that will help him a lot but he also has an amazing left foot on him as well,” Woodcock added.

“His goal-scoring record is tremendous for club and country and what is so exciting about this move is that he has surely not peaked yet and that is great news for Arsenal when you are looking ahead.

“He has been at Koln almost all his career, since he was a boy, and while things might not have worked out for him at Bayern Munich when he went there, the experience should stand him in good stead for life at Arsenal and the new challenges that playing in a foreign land create.

"I am sure that he will love working under Arsene Wenger and he will be ready for a new challenge."

Arsenal have been criticised in some quarters for relying too much upon captain Robin van Persie for goals, but Woodcock is adamant that Podolski will help share the goal-scoring burden.

“He is good inside and outside the penalty area and will give them a lot of penetration in the attacking department and everyone who saw him play for Germany against England will know that,” he said.

“On top of that they will be getting a player who is left-footed and that is always welcome because it means that Lukas will bring balance to the team as well as more attacking bite.

“He has all the qualities that you need to be a successful striker. The big question will be where do Arsenal play him. He can play down the left or down the middle but wherever he plays I am sure he will do well and he will fit in nicely wherever Arsene Wenger decides to play him.

“I am certain that he will enjoy being at Arsenal because it is a wonderful club. They might not have won a trophy for a while buy they really are not too far off at the moment. They are third in the league and with signings like Lukas Podolski they will be even stronger next season.

“I am not sure if it will make any difference to whether Robin van Persie decides to extend his contract this summer and the talks between the club and the player will continue in private. But I sincerely hope he stays.”

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