Gunners star warns club: play me, or I'm out

Shaun Botterill

German international forward Lukas Podolski admits unhappiness at his current situation at Arsenal

At a certain point, a player sees the proverbial writing on the wall and starts to make the kinds of overtures that precludes his exit from the club.  Today, after this past weekend's FA Cup semi-final victory over Wigan Athletic, Lukas Podolski's been quoted all over the place, most reliably by The Telegraph, as stating his unhappiness with his playing time and starting to signal that a change of scenery might be best for the latter stages of his career:

Podolski has won 112 caps for Germany but has completed the full 90 minutes only twice this season for his club and, amid booing from the Arsenal fans, was taken off after only 68 minutes of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Wigan Athletic.

Asked if it was frustrating, Podolski said: "Of course. I play and, in the last games, I always come out and of course you cannot be happy when you always go out after 60, 70 minutes. Of course I am not happy always to be substituted.

"It’s the decision of the boss. It’s not always easy when you play for a big club but of course I am not happy to always come out and watch from outside. You cannot be happy with this situation."

Although being a fan favorite due to his self-awareness on Twitter and other social media outlets, it's no secret that Podolski's fallen out of favor with Arsene Wenger and club management this season.  He's largely a one-trick pony, scoring the occasional goal in a threatening position but otherwise left wanting in many other crucial aspects of playing the left wing in Wenger's preferred 4-3-3 setup.  He rarely tracks back to assist Kieran Gibbs or Nacho Monreal when Arsenal don't have the ball, and he doesn't seem to have the tactical onus to create and supply the offense with creativity when in possession near the touchline.

Clearing Podolski from the roster can allow Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to move over there, if Wenger so desires, on a full-time basis next season (remember that's where he started and performed brilliantly in the season-opening match at home versus Aston Villa, before succumbing to his knee injury in the first half) while also searching the transfer market for a player that could slot in there as well.

Either way, with Podolski's utter lack of production, age (he'll be 29 at the start of next season) and his unhappiness at his current playing time, it might be time to start preparing your Lukas Podolski at Arsenal tributes sooner than later.

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