BERLIN: Lukas Podolski and Bundesliga strugglers Koln have confirmed that the Germany forward will join Arsenal after Euro 2012.
Podolski, who will join fellow German international Per Mertesacker in North London, said: “I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal Football Club and to play in the Premier League. Arsenal is one of the top clubs in Europe, with a huge history. There are many top-quality players at Arsenal and the style of football which the team plays is fantastic.
“I’m proud to become an Arsenal player and am looking forward to playing my first match at Emirates Stadium and doing my best for all the Arsenal fans.”
The announcement of Podolski’s signing for an undisclosed fee came just 48 hours after manager Arsene Wenger had conceded that Arsenal had been too reliant this season on the goals of Robin Van Persie who may now be more inclined to sign a contract extension this summer.
Wenger said: “We are delighted to secure the deal for Lukas Podolski and see him as an important part of our future. He is a top-class player, a very good finisher and a proven performer at club and international level. He is a very strong player and will provide us with good attacking options.
“We are happy to have made this signing early and we’re looking forward to watching Lukas contribute at the European Championships over the summer, a level where he has already made 95 caps at the age of 26 – a phenomenal record and just shows his quality as a player.”
Podolski, who started his career at Koln before rejoining them in 2009 after a disappointed spell at Bayern Munich, told their official website: “The move to Arsenal provides a great opportunity for me to gain experience in international competitions at a top European club. I have made this decision not against 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.”
The Poland-born forward, who had one year left on his Cologne contract, has scored 18 league goals for a side battling relegation so far this term, his best ever top-flight return.
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