Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Tuesday described Inter Milan’s reported interest in Lukas Podolski as “a joke” and said he wants the out-of-favour Germany international to stay at the club.
Podolski has expressed unhappiness at his lack of playing time this season and Inter coach Roberto Mancini recently told the Italian media that he is monitoring the 29-year-old’s situation.
But Wenger dismissed the reports and said he had no intention of allowing his squad to be weakened during the January transfer window.
“That is a joke. Inter Milan is not serious,” the Frenchman told his weekly press conference. “It is nothing serious. They talk, there is only talk.”
With Olivier Giroud serving a three-game ban and Danny Welbeck having injured his thigh during Sunday’s 2-1 win at West Ham United, Podolski could have more opportunities to play in the weeks ahead.
“Podolski is a player of Arsenal Football Club and I want him to stay,” added Wenger, whose side visit Southampton in the Premier League on Thursday.
“Apart from that, what it is to be professional is that as long as you are somewhere, you give your best to justify your wages and your love for the club.”
Asked if Podolski, who won the World Cup with Germany earlier this year, would still be at the club at the end of January, Wenger replied: “I hope so, yes.”