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Podolski deal on hold

COLOGNE have stressed that they will wait until the end of the season before finalising Lukas Podolski's future, with Arsenal still the frontrunners to sign the Germany international striker.

Podolski has indicated that he is willing to join Arsenal but a fee has yet to be agreed. Arsenal also made an inquiry during the January transfer window but, with Podolski's contract due to expire next year, Cologne opted to keep him until the end of the season.

According to sources in Germany, Podolski has provisionally agreed to join Arsenal, but there is the suspicion that it suits Cologne to now encourage an auction.

Stale Solbakken, the Cologne coach, yesterday appeared to concede that Podolski could leave this summer but wants him to focus on finishing the season strongly.