The news we "knew" about for a few months now if finally out in the open. Lukas Podolski will transfer from his hometown club FC Koln to Arsenal at the end of the current season. This has just been confirmed on the official FC Koln website.
Arsenal.com, as always, will be the last to report the transfer. Some things never change!
Speaking on the matter, Claus Horstmann, chairman of FC Koln's executive board said:
From his early days at our youth squads, via his first competitive match for our professional team, through to a highly renowned Germany international. That's why we deeply regret his step, which is not a decision against FC but for the good of his own career. FC Cologne were prepared to extend Lukas Podolski's contract on the basis of a competitive offer.
In a senior club career spanning spells at FC Koln (twice) and Bayern Munich, Podolski has scored a respectable 112 goals in 287 games.
His international stats for Germany, though, make fantastic reading. He has 43 goals in 95 caps, astounding numbers for a player who will turn 27 during the summer.
In better news for Arsenal fans, a large part of his international career has been played on the left wing, and if Robin Van Persie stays at the club—as we hope he will—it is probably on the left where Podolski will be deployed. Similarly prolific performances will be most welcome at the Emirates.
This transfer continues a welcome trend set by Arsene Wenger last summer, with the signing of somewhat experienced players. And at the same time, it represents a very welcome departure from the last-minute mayhem we witnessed at the end of August 2011.
Interestingly, Podolski is the third German to be signed by Arsenal in the last eight months, following the acquisitions of Per Mertesacker and Thomas Eisfeld.
Commenting on the move, Podolski said:
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 FC Cologne but for this great opportunity and the good of my own individual development.
If you want a quick look at Lukas Podolski's career in videos, look no further.
May you fire them in well, and often!