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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 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.”

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

And 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.”

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

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

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