The long awaited transfer of Lukas Podolski from FC Cologne to Arsenal has now been confirmed.
The 26-year old German striker will join the North London club in the summer after reaching an agreement with the club for personal terms and passing a medical exam. Neither Arsenal or Cologne have disclosed the transfer fee, but the amount is sure to come out at some point.
Podolski expressed excitement about the move but also explained the decision to leave Cologne was a difficult one.
"The move to Arsenal provides a great opportunity for me to gain experience in international competitions at a European top club," Podolski said. "I have made this decision not against FC Cologne but for this great opportunity and the good of my own individual development. This was not an easy decision for me at all, as Cologne, our fans and the city are something special for me. I will always carry Cologne in my heart. We need to pool our strengths now and have to be fully focused on our survival in the Bundesliga."
Podolski began his professional career with the Billy Goats in 2002 after seven years in their youth system. He transferred to Bayern Munich in 2006 but returned to Cologne three years later after a difficult stretch that saw him dropped to Munich's secondary club. Podolski had one year left on his contract with Cologne and is coming off a strong season in which he scored 18 goals for a side struggling in the Bundesliga.
Cologne's chairman Claus Horstmann expressed sadness at seeing Podolski leave.
"Lukas Podolski is a player of world class standing with a special relation to FC Cologne's fans and to the city. We are proud of the development Lukas Podolski has taken at Cologne within the last years."
"From his early days at our youth squads, via his first competitive match for our professional team, through to a highly renowned Germany international." Horstmann continued. "That's why we deeply regret his step, which is not a decision against Cologne 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."
Horstmann thanked Podolski for his service to the club and promised fans they would reinvest the funds from the transfer back in to the roster.
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