Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Monday April 30 2012
Arsenal have confirmed one of the worst kept transfer secrets in football by officially announcing the signing of German international striker Lukas Podolski. The Polish born striker came through the ranks at Koln F.C. before securing himself a big move to Bayern Munich in 2006, following a World Cup campaign that saw him score three goals for Germany. Things didn`t really work out for the young Podolski in Bavaria, so he returned to Koln in 2009.
Despite a campaign in which Koln have fought relegation, Podolski has netted 18 times and registered 6 assists in 30 appearances. After months of speculation, the signing was announced by both Koln and Arsenal- who typically have gone with the "undisclosed fee on a long term contract" line. Podolski has 43 goals in 94 Germany appearances and turns 27 in June. He`ll join international teammate Per Mertesacker in the Arsenal squad.
With Marouane Chamakh so far off the boil he`d struggle to recognise a kettle and Park Chu Young presumably preoccupied with cone duties on the training ground, Arsenal had tried to buy Podolski in January to make up their striker shortfall. Given their perilous Bundesliga position, Koln were insistent he stay till the season`s end, leaving Arsenal to resurrect Thierry Henry`s Arsenal career briefly. But now the London side officially have their man.
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 Championship over the summer, a level where he has already made 95 caps at the age of 26. That is a phenomenal record and just shows his quality as a player."
The man himself had this to say; "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.
"I am looking forward to becoming an Arsenal player, but at the moment my focus is with my current club, FC Cologne. I will give everything I have until the end of season to make sure the team finish as high as possible in the Bundesliga. There will always be a place in my heart for FC Cologne."
Welcome to Arsenal Poldi. Just be sure that the expectation created by the Arsenal careers of Chamakh and Park doesn`t crush your gentle spirit. LD.
Date:Monday April 30 2012
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