German international striker Lukas Podolski has confirmed that he will move from his home team Cologne to Arsenal, the English Premier League club, from next season.
One of European footballs worst-kept secrets is now official: German forward Lukas Podolski will join Arsenal next season. Neither club has disclosed the transfer fee or contract details.
Podolski, writing on FC Cologne's website, said his "sole" goal at the moment, however, was to avoid Cologne being relegated from the Bundesliga. It's currently battling Hertha Berlin to avoid the drop.
"I will give everything I have until the end of the season to make sure the team finish as high as possible in the Bundesliga," Podolski wrote of his home club where he began as a 10-year-old.
"The decision is not one against Cologne but for a great opportunity in my playing career," Podolski wrote.
Praise from Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger described 26-year-old Podolski, who has played 95 international matches for Germany, as a "top-class player, a very good finisher."
"He is a very strong player and will provide us with good attacking options," Wenger said. Arsenal is currently third in the Premier League standings.
It will be Podolski's second hiring at a European powerhouse side. From 2006, the Polish-born left-footer played three lackluster seasons at Bayern Munich before re-joining Cologne in 2009.
Podolski made his debut for Germany in 2004 and is regarded as a certain entrant for Germany's squad for the European championship, Euro 2012, in Poland and Ukraine starting in June.
Cologne has deep regrets
The Cologne's executive chairman, Claus Horstmann, said the club "deeply regretted" Podolski's decision to transfer one year before the expiry of his existing contract. Cologne had wanted to extend it.
At Arsenal, Podolski will join up with another German international, Per Mertesacker. Arsenal's line-up also includes the English league's top scorer of the season, Robin van Persie, who has notched up 28 goals.
"Nonetheless," said Cologne's Horstmann, "this early transfer decision offers scope and planning security for the next season."
ipj/slk (dpa, AP, Reuters)