Arsenal have confirmed a deal for German international striker Lukas Podolski.
The Polish-born forward has been signed on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee from FC Cologne, and will join the Gunners ahead of the 2012/13 season from Bundesliga side FC Cologne.
He has scored 18 goals in 28 league appearances in the Bundesliga this campaign after re-joining Cologne in 2009 from Bayern Munich.
Arsenal manager 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 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 added: “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.
Podolski goals this season:
“I am looking forward to becoming an Arsenal player, but at the moment, my focus is with my current club 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 Köln.”
Born in Gliwice, Poland, Podolski has made 95 appearances for Germany and scored 43 goals since making his debut as a 19-year-old in 2004.
He scored three times at the 2006 World Cup - where he was voted young player of the tournament - and struck thrice more two years later at Euro 2008.
At the 2010 World Cup he added two more goals to his major tournament tally, against Australia in the group stages and England in Die Mannschaft's round-of-16 4-1 victory.
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