Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has spoken of his delight after completing the protracted capture of Germany striker Lukas Podolski from Cologne.
Podolski will join the Gunners in the summer after agreeing personal terms and passing a medical. There is no word yet on the transfer fee.
Wenger said: “We are delighted to secure the deal for Lukas and see him as an important part of our future. 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.
“We are happy to have made this signing early and we are looking forward to watching Lukas contribute at the European Championships over the summer, a level where he has already made 95 caps at the age of 26. That is a phenomenal record and just shows his quality as a player.”
Podolski said: “I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal Football Club and to play in the Premier League. Arsenal is one of the top clubs in Europe with a huge history. There are many top quality players at Arsenal and the style of football which the team plays is fantastic. I’m proud to become an Arsenal player and am looking forward to playing my first match at Emirates Stadium and doing my best for all the Arsenal fans.
“I am looking forward to becoming an Arsenal player, but at the moment, my focus is with my current club. I will give everything I have until the end of season to make sure the team finish as high as possible in the Bundesliga. There will always be a place in my heart for FC Köln.”
Cologne chairman Claus Horstmann says the transfer was the best move for the player – who joined the club aged 10 and returned in 2009 after an three-year spell with Bayern Munich.
“We are proud of the development Lukas Podolski has taken at 1.FC Cologne within the last years,” Horstmann said. “That’s why we deeply regret his step, which is not a decision against FC but for the good of his own career.
“Cologne were prepared to extend Lukas Podolski’s contract on the basis of a competitive offer. Nonetheless, this early transfer decision offers scope and planning security for the next season.”
So, has he been bought to replace RVP – or to play alongside him?
CARL ELDRIDGE – on Twitter @eldomedia