Arsenal FC have finalised a deal with Bundesliga outfit 1. FC Köln to bring Germany forward Lukas Podolski to north London in the summer.
The former FC Bayern München player had one year left on his contract with Köln and opted against extending his stay with the club he originally joined as a ten-year-old. "The move to Arsenal provides a great opportunity for me to gain experience in international competitions at a top European club," said Podolski. "I have made this decision not against FC Köln but for this great opportunity and the good of my own individual development.
"This was not an easy decision for me at all, as Köln, our fans and the city are something special for me. I will always carry Köln in my heart. We need to pool our strengths now and have to be fully focused on our survival in the Bundesliga."
Scorer of 43 goals in 95 international appearances, the 26-year-old joins Arsenal for an undisclosed fee following a season in which he has so far weighed in with 18 league strikes. Overall, he has struck 79 goals for Köln in 168 league outings split over two spells and sandwiching a three-year stay at Bayern between 2006 and 2009.
"We are proud of the development Lukas Podolski has made at 1. FC Köln in the last few years," added the club's chairman, Claus Horstmann. "We regret his decision. Lukas has helped our club in so many situations. He was the face of 1. FC Köln and we thank him for so many great moments here.”
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