The German international joined Arsenal for an £11 million fee in 2012, in a window that also saw the Gunners add Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla.
Podolski found the net 19 times in his first two seasons in north London, but fell out of favour after the arrival of Alexis Sanchez in the summer of 2014.
Speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo in our May 2020 issue, the 34-year-old revealed why he felt he had to leave the Emirates.
“I didn’t get enough game time,” Podolski explained. “I felt that I performed well and didn’t get the minutes I deserved.”
But despite lack of action forcing his exit, Germany’s third most-capped player looked back fondly on his time at Arsenal.
“If you look at my stats, I played in about 80 matches and was directly involved in a lot of goals by scoring or assisting,” Podolski said. “My relationship with the fans and players was positive.
“We won the FA Cup in 2014, which was the club’s first trophy for quite a few years. I liked living in London, my family enjoyed it too.”
2014 also saw Podolski lift the World Cup with Germany, and the forward continued his international career for two years after leaving Arsenal, including a cameo at Euro 2016.
He retired from international duty with a remarkable record of 49 goals in 130 games, scoring the winner against England in his farewell game in March 2017.
And despite the disappointing nature of his departure, Podolski reserved particular praise for legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
“He was a great manager and I really like him as a person too,” said Podolski. “He was like a grandpa: a very intelligent man who was nice to talk to.
“He could speak lots of languages and never yelled. He was Arsenal - he created everything, a style of playing.
“He was the man who oversaw the club’s move to the Emirates Stadium from Highbury, and won so many trophies during his 22 years there.
“I’d be fascinated to see how he would have done in charge of another team.”
Read the full interview with Lukas Podolski in the May 2020 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, available in shops and online from Wednesday April 1. Our new magazine looks at how Cristiano Ronaldo came to the brink of setting an all-time international goalscoring record, reveals the 50 best players in the EFL, looks back on Marco van Basten and Euro 88, brings you the inside story from Greece’s unlikely victory at Euro 2004, takes in the rise of Bruno Fernandes and the fall of Michel Platini, and discovers the background of Bucharest’s brutal derby. We also chat to Andy Cole, Ramires, Micky Quinn and more.
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