Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Friday March 23 2012
With reports in Germany suggesting that Lukas Podolski has completed his 45th medical for the club (if you believe the press), Arsene Wenger has refuted reports that the deal is done. Speaking in his pre match press conference today, Wenger told reporters: "Nothing is done. No, he has not had a medical."
However, he stopped short of quelling any reports that a deal is in train at all; "I don't master the timing [of any announcement] because that does not just rely on us. It could happen soon, it could happen later, I don't know.
"It is always a concern [that someone else could come in for him]. The speed in which you do things is important, but at the end of the day it is always the player who makes the decision.
"It is about how much they want to join you."
The last line appears to be quite telling. Over the last couple of years, Arsenal appeared to have been at an advanced stage of negotiations before having targets snaffooed by wealthier clubs at the 11th hour. Juan Mata was something of a case in point. Podolski himself appeared to talk up interest from Lazio earlier this week, suggesting that negotiations are not yet advanced enough for the normal brinkmanship to ensue. Whether Podolski is stalling or not will be seen in the next few days 'd suggest.
However, there seems to be a suggestion that Podolski is all but a Gunners player. Arsene clearly seems comfortable enough to talk about it openly. The Arsenal manager also told reporters that he wants his transfer business done considerably earlier this year- I`d imagine if we finish 3rd or 5th it will be. Should we finish 4th, we may well await the outcome of a Champions League qualifier before cementing our business. But Wenger told the press he didn`t want a repeat of last summer`s frankly desperate trolley dash, "You want to make me say that last year was bad and I agree with you - last year was terrible for us because we finished on August 31 at 11.55pm and we do not want to repeat that, of course."
Date:Friday March 23 2012
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