So we’ve heard all the rumours and read all the stories, but just what could Arsenal be getting for their money in German frontman Lukas Podolski?
For those of you who aren’t yet aware of Lukas Podolski, Lukas joined FC Cologne at the tender age of 10 back in 1995, where after eight years of working his way through the youth system was eventually given his first team debut by then manager, Marcel Koller.
Still just 18, the young prodigy ‘Poldi’ kicked off his career with a bang and netted an impressive 10 goals in his first 19 senior appearances, the best ever record for an 18-year-old in the Bundesliga.
Lukas Podolski quickly became an integral member of the FC Cologne team, developing his famously thunderous left foot.
But despite his best efforts, he couldn’t help steer the club away from relegation and ultimately they fell into the 2nd Division.
t was then of no surprise then when the Polish born forward was chosen to represent Germany in their Euro 2004 campaign, that the big boys of European Football began putting him on their wishlist.
However the Billy Goats battled and kept a hold of their man as they went on to win promotion back to the Bundesliga in 2005, with Podolski scoring 24 goals and being awarded the league’s top scorer in the process.
Increased interest from Europe’s elite and another relegation with Cologne was eventually enough to tempt the cash strapped club to part with their most prized possession, and rather inevitably it was the Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich who made their move for Podolski in 2006, parting with €10 million in the process.
However bad luck with injuries and homesickness took its toll and meant that Lukas never really made the step up, finding himself behind the likes of Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni in the Bavarian’s pecking order.
Having had enough of life in the German capital, 2009 saw Lukas Podolski take the decision to return to the club where he spent 11 years, FC Cologne. In a particularly heart warming turn of events, the supporters of the club helped finance the move and raised €1 million of the €10 million transfer fee paid back to Bayern Munich.
In his first season back in Cologne though, Podolski found it hard to relive the form he experienced in his earlier years, despite scoring an emotional free kick against his former employers.
More recently however, the 95 time German international has recovered the form and confidence that made him so highly rated in his first spell at Cologne, scoring 30 goals and becoming something of an icon at the club, not particularly dissimilar to Arsenal’s own Robin Van Persie.
At 26, Podolski could soon be reaching the peak of his career, but previous difficulties at Bayern Munich could prove any move for the striker to be something of a gamble.
However with the troubled Maraoune Chamakh and Ju Young Park the only back up forwards at the club, it may very well be a gamble worth taking for Arsene Wenger. If there’s just one thing worth remembering though, it’s that Lukas Podolski is a player who, if arrives, shows the fans and just as importantly, Robin Van Persie, that Arsenal Football Club are a club with real ambition.