By Rob Kelly
Arsène Wenger believes Lukas Podolski is a completely different player than he was during his three-year spell at Bayern Munich.
The Germany international moved to the Allianz Arena from Cologne in 2006, and scored 26 times in 106 appearances before returning to his former club, where he flourished once more.
The 27-year-old has made an instant impact at Arsenal though, and Wenger says his experience meant this was always likely.
“I think sometimes when a player goes to a big club early, there are other players there that they cannot take their place from,” he said. “Maybe he was not ready and completely mature, I don’t know.
“Now he is ready. He is 27, between that period [at Bayern] and now he has 50 or 60 more caps for Germany and a World Cup and a European Championship behind him.
“He has experience, he has 100 caps for Germany. You see that in a game, he is calm and when he gets a chance you think it will be a goal.”
Wenger is confident Podolski will continue his hot goalscoring form after netting in three successive matches.
“We have signed a player who was in a club that was not doing well. Last year he scored 18 goals in a club that went down [Cologne],” he said.
“For me that is worth 30 goals in a club that is dominating a championship. It doesn’t mean that he will score 30, though, because he played central striker last year and for us he plays more on the right side, left side. He can finish, that is for sure.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 21 Sep 2012