Transfer Rumors: Is Arsenal Striker Lukas Podolski in Play for Orlando City?



As we approach Major League Soccer’s summer transfer window (July 8—Aug. 6), rumors will heat up, especially in light of Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath and General Manager Paul McDonough both saying they are interested in adding to the current squad.

The latest name out there is Polish-German striker Lukas Podolski of Arsenal, who recently completed a disappointing loan spell at Inter Milan, where he scored one goal and added one assist in nine league games. According to this story, Orlando City already turned down an opportunity to add Podolski in late 2014, but Greg Seltzer of No Short Corners writes…

I am told that the Gunners are now likely willing to A) loan him out intially & B) pay a considerable chunk of his salary. Seriously, everyone involved is pretty eager to get him moved across the Atlantic – he just needs a team that believes he’s worth the expense.

A cheaper Podolski might make sense for Orlando City, which lacks consistent bite from the forward position and must add scoring from anywhere. Rookie Cyle Larin is developing, but Saturday night showed the young Canadian must still work on consistency. Larin is also going to be away with his national team during the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Aside from Larin, Martin Paterson has yet to make an impact on the field. Pedro Ribeiro has done well, but it seems that Adrian Heath would prefer someone with more pace to work up top in his 4-2-3-1 formation. Danny Mwanga doesn’t really figure to get more playing time barring a rash of injuries.

Podolski is intriguing because he can also play left wing, which would provide coverage for Brek Shea’s international absences and perhaps allow the Texan to return to left back — where he starred through the first several games of the season, returning some lost depth to the back line. Podolski at left wing could allow City to loan out the young and raw Carlos Rivas to Louisville City for more seasoning.

The 29-year-old Podolski has 123 caps and 48 goals with the German national team since 2004. His best professional season came in 2011-12 with FC Cologne, when he scored 18 goals with seven assists in 28 appearances. He has 19 goals in 60 appearances with Arsenal over the last three seasons.

All that said, the club would likely have to clear a Designated Player slot to add Podolski, which a Rivas season-long loan to LCFC might accomplish, or the club could perhaps buy down a DP salary (Rivas or Bryan Rochez) with allocation money to make it work.

Still, I’ll only give this about a 5-10% chance of happening this summer. But we’ll see what happens when we get a bit closer to the transfer window.

As for the competition for Podolski’s services, there’s always New York City FC, which Seltzer says also passed on the forward before the MLS season. Lester Townsend over at Once a Metro has done the legwork and found that both Turkish giants Galatasaray and the Bundesliga’s Werder Bremen are also possibilities.


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