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Hoeness Comments Stoke Rumors of Podolski Return to Cologne

Unsettled Bayern Munich forward Lukas Podolski is likely to be sold to his former club FC Cologne, according to Bayern's general manager Uli Hoeness Friday.

Lukas Podolski in the FC Köln days

The man they call The Prince may be starting the second half of the season in familiar colors

The Germany international has been out of favour at Bayern in recent seasons and Hoeness believes Podolski is set to return north once the "finer details" of the deal have been ironed out.

"I'm negotiating with Cologne. Next week I'll resume discussions and I think we'll come to some kind of agreement before the end of the month," Hoeness told television channel DSF from Dubai where the club are at a training camp.

Cologne earlier offered Bayern 7.5 million euros for the 23-year-old Podolski, but that offer was rejected.

Bayern, who paid 10 million for Podolski in 2006, are hoping to recoup at least that much.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was reported as saying that Cologne had moved closer to meeting Bayern estimation for the striker on Thursday. "Everything is looking good. I am confident it will work out," Rummenigge wasquoted as saying in the daily TZ newspaper.

Podolski would like to return to his former club after failing to establish a first-team place at the German champions.

"The player only wants to go to Cologne. They will have to offer a bit more but there is no longer much difference between what they are offering and what we want," Rummenigge said.

Bayern would like the Podolski transfer settled by the end of January for a move at the end of the season.

A number of other clubs are reportedly showing an interest in the Germany international, and some media reports have also linked him with SV Hamburg.

Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness said Wednesday in Dubai, where Bayern are in training during the winter break, that Podolski would not be sold at a bargain price.

Cologne would benefit from a lower price as they had sold the player to Bayern, but "we would demand more from other clubs," he said.

Cologne manager Michael Meier was quoted in the Koelner Stadtanzeiger newspaper just before Christmas as saying that there was no chance that Podolski, who started his professional career with Cologne, would return to the club.

"It would be a wonderful Christmas story, but it will not happen," he said. "My offer to Bayern was as high as I could go. If I had gone further, I would have gone beyond the club mandate."

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