Arsenal have signed Lukas Podolski for a reported fee of £10.9 million from Bundesliga outfit FC Köln, and the striker will join the Gunners at the end of this season. Podolski has agreed a four-year deal, which will earn him a weekly salary of £100,00
With 43 national team goals in 95 appearances for Germany, and a further 92 goals in his league career, Podolski has the résumé of an established forward coming to the end of his career. Surprisingly, he is only 26 years old, and has played in two World Cup campaigns (including netting in the 4-1 demolition of England in 2010). His invaluable experience, coupled with his potential to play for another 10 years makes this a very shrewd piece of business by Arsene Wenger, in his 16th year of management at Arsenal.
Podolski was in fact born in Poland, but moved to Germany with his family at an early age. He never applied for a Polish passport, and his international fate was all but sealed when he received his first call up for the German under-21 side in 2004. He still remains very proud of his Polish roots however, and has passionately stated that "there are two hearts beating" inside his chest. Quite the vivid imagination for a professional footballer!
Pod-goal-ski - Lukas has been in fine form
FC Köln, nicknamed 'The Billy Goats', have been struggling this season and find themselves 14th in the Bundesliga, just three points off the relegation zone. Their form has been in sharp contrast to that of Podolski's, who has netted 16 times in his last 22 games. To add some perspective to these 'one-man shows', Köln have only managed 15 goals between the rest of the team. His bravado, virtuoso displays have prompted Wenger into spending €13 million on the free-scoring front man, which should look like a bargain if Podolski can carry on with his sparkling form.
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There was also reported interest from Russia, with title chasing Lokomotiv Moscow and the rather affluent Anzhi Makhachkala competing for his highly sought after signature. However, with a desire to play in the English Premier League, it is clear than Podolski wants to play, and hopefully stay, at the highest level. Speaking to German newspaper Sport-Bild, Lukas said he is more focused on the development of his game, and not necessarily the financial side of it all.
It is looking increasingly likely that Podolski will be brought in as a replacement for the inspired Robin Van Persie, who has notched 32 goals already this season. The proverbial vultures are circling around North London, with their wallets brimming, and cheques half-written, attempting to pry the flying Dutchman away from The Emirates. Indeed, it was reported this week that Manchester City are ready to offer him a £220,000 a week contract.
Where Van Persie's future lies remains unclear, but there is no doubt about where Podolski will be plying his trade... For the foreseeable future, anyway.