Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that a deal has been agreed to sign German international striker Lukas Podolski on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee.
The Polish-born attacker will team up with the Gunners in the summer ahead of the 2012/13 season from Bundesliga side FC Cologne, where he has been in fine form this season, netting 18 times in 28 league appearances.
After spending his early years training and playing with FC Bergheim 2000, the 26-year-old joined the youth set-up at Cologne in 1995, before making his first-team debut in 2003. After three successful seasons with Cologne he moved to Bayern Munich in 2006. He spent three seasons with Bayern before re-joining FC Cologne in 2009 and is now regarded as one of the leading strikers in the Bundesliga.
Podolski has made 95 appearances for Germany and scored 43 goals since making his debut as a 19-year-old in 2004. He made a huge impact with a series of impressive performances at the 2006 World Cup, where he scored three times and followed this up with three more goals at Euro 2008.
Podolski was also part of the Germany team that produced a number of eye-catching displays at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, including a goalscoring contribution in the 4-1 win over England in Bloemfontein in the last 16. He also featured for ‘Die Geißböcke’ in the pre-season friendly against Arsenal at the RheinEnergieStadion last July.
Manager Arsène 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 Championship 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.”
Speaking about his move, 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, FC Cologne. 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 Cologne.”
Everyone at Arsenal looks forward to welcoming Lukas to the Club in the summer.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 30 Apr 2012