The Germany forward has been linked with a move away from the Gunners, but came off the bench to score a vital winner against Anderlecht in the Champions League
By Stefan Coerts at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium
Per Mertesacker believes Lukas Podolski is still fully committed to Arsenal despite being linked with a move away from the club.
Podolski came off the bench to score the winner in the 90th minute against Anderlecht – moments after Kieran Gibbs had cancelled out Andy Najar’s opener for the hosts.
The Germany forward responded to rumours linking him with a move to north London rivals Tottenham earlier this week by suggesting “hell will freeze over” before he made the switch to White Hart Lane, and Mertesacker says his compatriot’s showing in Brussels proves he remains focused on playing for the Gunners.
“We are very happy to have Podolski and that he still has that motivation to get out there, give his all for the team when we need him and to score this goal,” he told reporters.
“He was still fresh and could decide the game with his left foot.”
Mertesacker admitted the Gunners, who were heading for a shock defeat until the closing stages, had been below par in Brussels.
He added: “We stood with our back against the wall, but we always kept believing that we could get back in it.
“It is important that even when you’re not playing at your own level for 85 minutes, that you keep going and are there when it matters most, especially in the Champions League. We showed that here.
“We are very pleased with this result. Anderlecht did well and we only showed late in the game what we can do.”