Jul 7, 2013, 12:10 PM EDT
While Goonahs everywhere try to avoid clawing their eyes out while waiting for their club to finalize a deal for Gonzalo Higuain, Arsenal winger Lukas Podolski noted his ambitions for the club in the upcoming season.
“The hope is that this season Arsenal will be at the top of the league,” Podolski said with an air of confidence.
That notion, Podolski explained, was due to one of the major advantages of playing in the Barclay’s Premier League. “English football, thankfully, is not like Spain where you only have two teams – Barcelona and Real Madrid – who fight at the top,” he said.
“In the Premier League, you have five, six, even seven top, top teams. It’s very difficult but I know that Arsenal are one of those top teams who will be involved,” the 28 year old said.
The German international also talked up Arsenal’s chances at claiming the title due to the top three clubs all having replaced their managers in the off-season. ”A few of the other teams all have new managers,” Podolski stated. “But they will be strong and equally, Arsenal will be strong.”
The issue for Arsenal is that, while they have managed to hold on to coach Arsene Wenger, their only signing has been the free transfer of Yaya Sonogo from Ligue 2 side AJ Auxere. Meanwhile, City and Chelsea have already announced two significant signings each.
City, now led by Manuel Pellegrini, have already finalized deals for Shakhtar Donetsk center midfielder Fernandinho (£35.2 million [$48.4m]) and Sevilla winger Jesus Navas (£17.6 million [$26.2m]). As for Chelsea, in addition to bringing in Jose Mourinho for his second stint as manager, they have signed Bayer Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle (£19.4 million [$28.9m]) and Vitesse Arnhem center midfielder Marco van Ginkel (£8.3 million [$12.4m]).
If the Gunners are going to improve on last year’s fourth place finish, one thing they need to do is improve their ranks up top. And for weeks now they have been on the verge of making that happen, closing in on signing Higuain from Real Madrid.
At this point, however, the protracted move is largely seen as a formality. For Podolski, the Higuain move represents a challenge to his place in the starting squad. But the German appears unfazed by the situation.
“It’s always good when good players come in. I don’t worry about a specific player,” Podolski said. “I’m strong enough and I have qualities. And when good players come in, I’ll play with good players.”
Helping Podolski maintain his spot is the fact that many players experience growing pains upon first joining the Premier League. For Podolski, his move from Cologne last summer saw some initial bumps but the forward eventually made a fantastic impact on the North London club, notching 16 goals and 9 assists in all competitions.
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