Cologne striker Lukas Podolski appears set for a move to the English Premier League. The club has declined to comment on the German international's reported move to Arsenal.
A report in Germany's highest-circulation newspaper suggests that German striker Lukas Podolski is set to move to English Premier League side Arsenal at the end of the Bundesliga season.
The report, published in the Bild newspaper's online edition on Thursday, said Arsenal had agreed to pay Cologne FC 13 million euros ($17 million) for the local fan favorite. If confirmed, the move would be a lucrative one for Podolski, with Arsenal prepared to pay the 26-year-old striker an annual wage of seven million euros, about double his current salary.
The Cologne-based newspaper Express has also reported that Podolski is set to leave his current club, where his contract runs until the end of next season. The Bundesliga side is looking to cash in on the national team player, rather than lose him on a free transfer when his contract expires, Express said.
Clubs remain silent
Neither Cologne nor Arsenal was prepared to confirm or deny the stories.
"We are not commenting on this report," Cologne FC spokesman Tobias Schmidt told the SID news agency on Thursday. However he didn't rule out the possibility that the reported transfer may be confirmed in the next few days.
"I can't predict what the developments will be on a day-to-day basis," Schmidt said.
The speculation was fuelled earlier in the week when Podolski's teammate on the national squad, Arsenal defender Per Merkesacker, confirmed that the striker had been in touch with him to inquire about the North London club.
"He sent me a number of text messages and I told him that it is a great place to work and Arsenal are an amazing club," Mertesacker said.
Podolski, who returned to his hometown club from Bayern Munich in 2009 recently publicly criticized Cologne FC for not doing more to strengthen his supporting cast at the side, which is currently in 14th place in the table.
If confirmed, Podolski's departure would hit the Rhineland club hard in the goal-scoring department, as he has already found the back of the net 16 times this season.
pfd/acb (dpa, SID)