Lukas Podolski has told Arsenal fans that he is integrating well with his new surroundings and hopes for a strong start to his Premier League career when the Gunners face Sunderland in their season opener on August 18.
Podolski missed Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Asia due to arriving late to training following Euro 2012 duty but the Germany international has had two weeks of solid preparation to bolster his confidence.
Having trained with compatriot Per Mertesacker and fellow summer signing Olivier Giroud early on before linking up with all his other new teammates, Podolski has had ample time to familiarize himself with the squad.
As the Gunners prepare to square off against his former club FC Cologne in this Sunday’s pre-season friendly, the 27-year old is beaming with excitement.
“I am now two weeks into training and it is not easy when you come back to your club after a European Championship or World Cup,” Podolski told Arsenal Player, implying that starting off fresh at a new club involves an even higher level of difficulty following an international tournament.
The forward added: “I need some more weeks and then you will see the real Podolski. It has been very good so far. This is a big club with a great coach and I am very proud to be an Arsenal player.
“I am looking forward to the first match of the season against Sunderland.”
Mertesacker, who has often been credited with facilitating Podolski’s move and transition to life at Arsenal, has verified that the former Cologne star is settling in well.
“I try to do my very best [to help him settle]. I had the same thing last year and it is good to have a lot of help in your first moments in a new city with a new language. It is good to have some German friends around you,” said Mertesacker, who is also accompanied at Arsenal by young compatriot Thomas Eisfeld.
“But the club is doing well also. You have a lot of people who have been very helpful from the beginning. Everything is going fine for him [Podolski] and I am very happy that he is here to give his best for Arsenal,” the defender added.
Both Podolski and Mertesacker ended their summer empty-handed following Germany’s semifinal elimination in Euro 2012 but will be hoping to avoid a similar end to the campaign with the Gunners.