Lukas Podolski is great signing for Arsenal, says Arsene Wenger

Wenger hails arrival of 'phenomenal' Podolski as Arsenal wrap up 11m deal



13:11 GMT, 30 April 2012

Lukas Podolski has been tipped to be a major success at Arsenal by Arsene Wenger.

The German striker agreed to sign for the Gunners in a 11million deal earlier this season but the transfer has now been officially confirmed.

Wenger said: 'We are delighted to secure the deal for Lukas and see him as an important part of our future.

Eye on the ball: Lukas Podolski (left) will join Arsenal in the summer

Eye on the ball: Lukas Podolski (left) will join Arsenal in the summer

'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

'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 insists he is joining Arsenal to play at the highest level of European football.

He said: 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.'

Before heading to Arsenal, Podolski will
look to save Cologne from the drop. The club are third bottom of the
table with one game to go and are likely to face a relegation play-off.

Main main: Podolski will hope to play alongside Robin van Persie

Main main: Podolski will hope to play alongside Robin van Persie

said: 'The move to Arsenal provides a great opportunity for me to gain
experience in international competitions at a top European club.

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

was not an easy decision for me at all, as Cologne, our fans and the
city are something special for me. I will always carry Cologne in my
heart. We need to pool our strengths now and have to be fully focused on
our survival in the Bundesliga.'

Podolski's contract was due to expire next year and Arsenal acted quickly to wrap up his signature before the summer.

Cologne chief executive Claus Horstmann
said: 'Lukas Podolski is a player of world class standing with a special
relation to FC Cologne's fans and to the city.

'We are proud of the development Lukas Podolski has taken at Cologne within the last years. 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 Cologne but for the good of his own career.

Got his man: Arsene Wenger has moved quickly to bring in Podolski

Got his man: Arsene Wenger has moved quickly to bring in Podolski

'Cologne 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.

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 Cologne's reputation and
we feel the need to thank him for numerous great football experiences at

Podolski, who will link up with international team-mate Per Mertesacker in north London, played for Germany at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and is set to be part of their squad at Euro 2012.

He has a fantastic goalscoring record at international level with 43 goals in his 95 appearances – joint sixth in their all-time list – despite often playing in a left-sided role.

Things did not go so well at Bayern, though, as he managed just 15 league goals in his three seasons in Bavaria before going back to Cologne for a reported 10m euros in an innovatively-funded transfer.

Cologne set up a page on their website where fans could buy pixels in an image of Podolski with the money going toward the cost of the fee.