Posted on Apr 30
German international striker Lukas Podolski will leave Cologne for English Premier League side Arsenal at the start of the 2012/2013 season, the Bundesliga club announced on Monday.
The 26-year-old - capped 95 times - joined struggling Cologne from Bayern Munich in 2009.
No details of the transfer were given by Cologne who are 16th in the Bundesliga, however press reports estimate the fee at 13 million euros.
"This transfer gives me the chance to play at an international level in one of the top European clubs," said Podolski.
"This wasn't an easy decision for me because the club, the fans and the city really mean a lot to me. Cologne will always remain in my heart."
Podolski, who has played 180 matches and scored 86 goals, will join Germany teammate Per Mertesacker at Arsenal.
Meanwhile Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looked forward to utilising Podolski's experience in the bid to end the Gunners' trophy drought.
After a seventh successive season without silverware, Wenger is keen to add more experience to his youthful team and believes Podolski will add knowledge and class to his forward line.
"We are delighted to secure the deal for Lukas Podolski and see him as an important part of our future," Wenger said.
"He is a top-class player, a very good finisher and a proven performer at club and international level," the Frenchman added.
"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're 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 -- a phenomenal record and just shows his quality as a player."