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The Gunners have been linked with the German international throughout the season, and his club have now confirmed he will switch to the Premier League this summer

Koln striker Lukas Podolski will join Arsenal in the summer for an undisclosed fee, the Bundesliga club has announced.

In an official statement on the club’s official website confirming the deal, executive board chairman, Claus Horstmann admitted that Koln had offered the player new “competitive” terms on his contract, but with just one year left on his current deal, a transfer was best for the team.

Horstmann said: “We deeply regret his step, which is not a decision against [the club] but for the good of his own career. Koln 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. We will jump at this opportunity to reinvest these transfer earnings back into our team's quality and into the promotion of our youth squads.

“Lukas has helped the club in many difficult situations, Lukas has left a mark on Koln's reputation and we feel the need to thank him for numerous great football experiences at Koln.”

LUKAS PODOLSKI
STRIKER | KOLN

IN FOCUS
Age 26
Caps 95
Previous clubs Bayern Munich, Koln
2011-12 BUNDESLIGA STATS
Games 28
Goals 18
Assists 6

The move has long been in the offing, with the striker's former boss Stale Solbakken admitting just two weeks ago that a move to England was on the cards and Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger publicly stating his admiration for the former Bayern Munich player in March.

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And Wenger, himself, speaking to Arsenal's official website, spoke of his happiness at securing the signature of the "top-class player": "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, 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.”

"Podolski....great signing! Top player! To have that many appearances for Germany you have to be half decent!"

- Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere

Ahead of the move, the 26-year-old has thanked the Koln fans before his summer switch to the Emirates Stadium: “The move to Arsenal provides a great opportunity for me to gain experience in international competitions at a European top club.

“I have made this decision not against Koln but for this great opportunity and the good of my own individual development.

“This was not an easy decision for me at all, as Koln, our fans and the city are something special for me.

“I will always carry Koln in my heart. We need to pool our strengths now and have to be fully focussed on our survival in the Bundesliga.”

The striker, who has notched 43 goals in just 95 games for the Germain international side, spoke of his delight at joining Arsenal on the club's official website: "I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal 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."

Podolski will stay at Koln for the remainder of the campaign to help their ongoing fight against relegation before moving to England.

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