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Arsenal complete Podolski signing

ESPN staff
April 30, 2012 « City on track to dominate for years - Mancini | Chartbeat test »
Lukas Podolski scored last weekend for Cologne

Arsenal have completed the signing of Germany forward Lukas Podolski from Cologne.

Podolski will join the Gunners in the summer, after reaching an agreement with the Premier League club about personal terms and passing a medical. Neither club has announced the transfer fee involved.

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said: "We are delighted to secure the deal for Lukas 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 are looking forward to watching Lukas contribute at the European Championships over the summer."

The 26-year-old has 95 caps at international level, scoring 43 goals. He has played 28 Bundesliga games so far this season for his side, finding the net 18 times and providing a further six assists as the club bid to avoid relegation from the top flight.

His move to Emirates Stadium will bolster Arsenal's attacking options, after manager Arsene Wenger admitted that they needed some reinforcement.

"The move to Arsenal provides a great opportunity for me to gain experience in international competitions at a top European club," Podolski said. "I have made this decision not against FC 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."

Claus Horstmann, Cologne's executive chairman, added the transfer was the best move for the player - who joined the club as a ten-year-old and returned in 2009 after an inconsistent three-year spell with Bayern Munich.

"We are proud of the development Lukas Podolski has taken at 1.FC Cologne within the last years," Horstmann said. "That's why we deeply regret his step, which is not a decision against FC but for the good of his own career.

"Cologne were prepared to extend Lukas Podolski's contract on the basis of a competitive offer. Nonetheless, this early transfer decision offers scope and planning security for the next season."

Podolski had just a year to run on his contract with his hometown club. It is the second significant summer transfer to be announced in three days, after Chelsea confirmed the signing of Marko Marin from Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Jack Wilshere, currently sidelined due to injury, was one of the first Arsenal players to react to the news.

"Great to hear we have signed Podolski ... great signing!" Wilshere said on Twitter. "Top player! To have that many appearances for Germany you have to be half decent!"

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