With the ‘worst kept secret’ in football history finally out of the bag, Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Lukas Podolski for a fee in the region of £11 million on a four-year deal.
So just in case you don’t know who this fella is, here are 10 things you might/should know about our new Gunner:
1. Lukas Podolski was born in Gilwice, Poland in 1985. However, at the age of two, his family moved to West Germany where he gained ‘right of return’ due to his paternal grandparents having Germany Citizenship prior to WW2.
2. At the age of six, Podolski joined FC Bergheim at youth level. He stayed there until 1995 where he joined Cologne. It was there that his talent began to draw attention.
3. It was in 2003 at the age of 18 when Podolski began training with the Cologne senior side. The German club at the time were fighting relegation from the Bundesliga and working on an extremely tight budget which is why Podolski was called into the side. Sadly, despite the striker’s best efforts, the side were relegated. However not before Podolski had shown the club were right to promote him, scoring 10 goals in his first 19 appearances.
4. It was that run of form that saw him called up for the German national side for Euro 2004. Due to his performances in this tournament, Podolski was attracting attention from several clubs but opted to stay with Cologne for the 2003/04 season where he scored 24 goals and was the league’s top scorer. Despite playing for a lower league side in the German division, Podolski managed to continue maintain his position in the national side.
5. With their promotion back to the top flight the fight to keep Cologne in the Bundesliga rested on the shoulders of Podolski, who at this time was just 20-years-old. Sadly Cologne were relegated again, with the young German scoring 12 goals.
Let’s take a look at the man in action and see what he will bring to our side next season:
6. The 26-year-old decided that he could not fight to bring Cologne back again from relegation and in 2006, despite interest from Liverpool, Hamburger SV, Werder Bremen and Real Madrid, he opted to join Bayern Munich, where he stayed until July 2009 before rejoining Cologne after receiving confirmation that it would not hurt his international career.
7. The transfer fee was thought to be in the region of €10 million, which is the price he went to Bayern Munich for originally, but Cologne set-up a website and sold pictures of the left-footed forward for €25 per 8×8 pixel square so they could keep the costs on the transfer as low as possible.
8. Despite a couple of low scoring seasons for Cologne, Podolski soon found his run of form, scoring 32 goals in 64 appearances in the following 2010/12 seasons. During 2011 he was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal, but no deal was agreed as Cologne wanted to keep him until the end of the season.
9. In the 2010/11 season, Podolski scored his 50th Bundesliga goal against Hannover 96 in March 2011. During the entire season, the German international scored 13 goals and created seven.
10. After being linked with Arsenal for the entire winter transfer window in 2011 no deal was agreed or announced as Cologne wanted to explain to their fans why they were losing their star player at the end of the season. This was until the 30th of April 2012, where both clubs announced that the move was a done deal.
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