Former Lukas Podolski manager at Bayern Munich, Jupp Heynckes has claimed the German international's decision to leave Arsenal for Inter Milan during the January transfer decision was not clever at all.
The 29-year-old forward forced a move to the Serie A giants in order to secure more playing time during the second part of the campaign after failing to make a single starting appearance under Arsene Wenger before the January transfer window.
But having failed to score a single goal in his eight starting appearances for Roberto Mancini's side, he has been under scrutiny in the Serie A and recently the player himself claimed he still expects to return to the Emirates Stadium at the end of the season.
"I don't regret joining Inter," the 29-year-old said. "I was the one who did not want a clause [for Inter to buy him at the end of the season] because now I can evaluate everything in the summer freely and make a decision [about my future] then. My chapter with Arsenal is not closed. I still have a year left on my contract [there] and always got on really well with the guys and the fans."
Heynckes, who coached Podolski at Bayern in 2009, has slammed both the player and his agents for the decision.
"Joining Inter was not the most clever decision from Lukas and his agents," Heynckes said to Kicker.
"I worked with him for five weeks at Bayern [before his return to Koln] and he did very well in all five games he played. The people at Bayern did not understand how he had become a completely different player all of a sudden."
Podolski then explained that Germany manager Joachim Low influenced his decision to leave the Gunners in January as he needed to play more regularly to be in the national team.
Low has indeed kept trusting in the player while including him in the squad for the recent 2-2 draw friendly against Australia, when Podolski scored a goal, and the Euro 2016 qualifiers 2-0 victory over Georgia on 29 March.
Speaking about his role with the national team, Heynckes added: "National team coach Joachim Low has done an extraordinary job managing him like he has. But Podolski must step up his game again now. The coach can not keep protecting him all the time."