MILAN: Lukas Podolski has been given the all-clear to join Internazionale from Arsenal after coming through his medical check in Milan. He might even make his debut on Tuesday against champions Juventus writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Hundreds of fans turned out to welcome Podolski who greeted them wearing a blue-and-black club scarf to take up his half-season loan.
Fans will have high expectations of Podolski to lead Inter out of their latest crisis. The former world and European champions have finished ‘only’ sixth, ninth and fifth in the last three seasons and are currently 11th after five wins, soix draws and five defeats.
Coach Walter Mazzarri was replaced in November by Roberto Mancini whose ambition of returning Inter to the Champions League is unlikely, this season at least.
Creating openings for Podolski and fellow striker Mauro Icardi will be the Croat Mateo Kovacic with organising defence being the role of former Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic.
Podolski’s own problem is a lack of match fitness after being merely a permanent substitute at Arsenal.
Mancini is optimistic, saying: “I know Lukas very well, he can play in different positions, has a lot of experience and quality – and German players have always done well in Italy.”
Previous German favourites at Inter included Lothar Matthäus, Andreas Brehme and Jürgen Klinsmann as well as, further back, Horst Szymaniak.