Attacker joins Premier League club in 2012|2013
Claus Horstmann, executive board chairman, explained further: 'Lukas Podolski is a player of world class standing with a special relation to 1 .FC Cologne's fans and to the city. We are proud of the development Lukas Podolski has taken at 1.FC 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 FC but for the good of his own career. 1. FC 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. 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 1. FC Cologne's reputation and we feel the need to thank him for numerous great football experiences at Cologne.'
Lukas Podolski on his transfer: '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. This was not an easy decision for me at all, as 1. FC Cologne, our fans and the city are something special for me. I will always carry 1. FC Cologne in my heart. We need to pool our strengths now and have to be fully focussed on our survival in the Bundesliga.'
Lukas Podolski joined 1.FC Cologne at the age of ten when he switched from FC Bergheim at the gates of Cologne to FC's youth squad. After his first professional appearances as an 18-year-old youngster in the 2003/2004 season (10 goals in 19 Bundesliga matches), he debuted for Germany and participated in the European Championship 2004 and in the World Football Championship 2006. In the meantime Podolski scored a total of 43 international goals in 95 caps for his national team. After three seasons with FC Bayern Munich (since 2006/2007) Lukas Podolski returned back to his home club in 2009. This season he netted a career-high 18 times. All in all, Lukas appeared in 180 competitive matches for 1.FC Cologne in which he scored 86 goals (as 30 April, 2012).