Cologne winger Lukas Podolski
will join Arsenal for next season, the two clubs said on Monday,
ending months of speculation regarding the future of one of
Germany's most exciting players.
The 26-year-old, the relegation-threatened side's leading
scorer this term with 18 Bundesliga goals, has long been a
target for several top European clubs and had a year left on his
An Arsenal statement said Podolski, who will join fellow
Germany international Per Mertesacker at the London club, had
agreed a long-term deal for an undisclosed fee.
"This transfer gives me the opportunity to play for a top
European club on an international level," said Podolski, who
joined Cologne as a 10-year-old and returned to the club after a
hapless three years at Bayern Munich from 2006-09.
"I did not decide against Cologne but for a great chance
regarding my own sports development," he added in a Cologne
"This was not an easy decision for me at all as Cologne, our
fans and the city are special to me."
The Germany international, who has scored 43 goals in 95
appearances for the national team and is poised to go to Euro
2012, is hugely adored at Cologne.
Despite his most successful Bundesliga season so far, the
left-footer has been unable to secure the top-flight future of
his team with a game left to play in the season.
Cologne are in 16th place in the relegation play-off spot
with 30 points, two above Hertha Berlin.
Arsenal are third in the Premier League thanks largely to
the goals of main striker Robin van Persie. Podolski is likely
to line up on the left wing of Arsene Wenger's favoured 4-3-2-1
"We are delighted to secure the deal for Lukas and see him
as an important part of our future," Wenger said.
"He is a top-class player, a very good finisher and a proven
performer at club and international level. He is a very strong
player and will provide us with good attacking options."
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