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Cologne Try to Engineer Return of Prodigal Podolski

Cologne have said they're starting an all-out push to bring local boy and former Cologne star Lukas Podolski back to the team. But can the Bundesliga minnow afford Bayern Munich's asking price?

Lukas Podolski scores for Germany

Podolski is still a hit for Germany...

Cologne President Wolfgang Overath and General Manager Michael Meier confirmed on Tuesday, Nov. 25, that they have spoken with both the 23-year-old striker and his current club Bayern Munich about a possible transfer.

"We have done our homework," Overath said at the club's annual meeting. "We'll be doing everything -- and I mean everything -- in our power to bring the boy back home."

Podolski grew up near Cologne and began his career with the team's amateurs. He played for the professional team from 2003 to 2006, scoring 46 goals in 81 first- and second-division matches.

Podolski sits on the reserves' bench

...though he's largely been a flop for Bayern

That spell of success established Podolski, who was born in Poland, as one of the bright young stars of the German national team. He has won 60 caps in the past four years.

In 2006 he transferred to Bayern Munich for 12 million euros ($15.5 million). But he's had difficulty cracking the starting line-up there, despite being reunited this season with Juergen Klinsmann, his coach with Germany at the 2006 World Cup.

Earlier this week, Podolski said he planned to leave Bayern during the winter break, although Klinsmann has denied that he will let the striker go.

A possible transfer fee of 15 million euros (19.6 million) has been batted about in the media. Cologne is reportedly negotiating with local investors to raise money to buy "Prince Poldi," as he's known.

"You talk to the player, the advisors, the club he wants to leave and the boards," Michael Meier. "All of that has happened. We have a clear plan."

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