Gunners get Podolski on board for next season
Arsenal yesterday confirmed their first signing of the summer, German forward Lukas Podolski from Cologne. The 26-year-old striker will be in place at the Emirates for next season, with Arsenal paying around £11m for him.
"We are delighted to secure the deal for Lukas Podolski and see him as an important part of our future," Arsene Wenger said last night. "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're 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 -- a phenomenal record, which just shows his quality as a player."
Podolski was delighted at the chance to play in England. Unless there is some dramatic collapse over the final games, he should play Champions League football again next year too.
"I'm so happy to be joining Arsenal and to play in the Premier League," said Podolski, who discussed a possible move with his Germany team-mate Per Mertesacker. "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 the Emirates Stadium and doing my best for all the Arsenal fans."
Podolski is able to play up front or on the left of a front-three. He started at Cologne, where he emerged through the youth system and he joined Bayern Munich in 2006 and after three years in Bavaria, during which he won the German title, he returned to Cologne, where he is a hero to the fans. Even though Cologne are in the relegation zone, Podolski is the fourth top scorer in the Bundesliga, and is enjoying his best season, with 18 goals from 28 games. (© Independent News Service)