One of the worst kept transfer secrets of all time - Lukas Podolski's move to Arsenal - was finally announced yesterday by both clubs.
The strikers move to north London has been in the bag for a number of weeks, but with FC Cologne fighting for Bundesliga survival, they didn't want to announce the deal straight away for fear of upsetting their fans. Podolski is after all their star player.
The 26-year-old will join Arsenal for pre-season training in July, having agreed a four year contract. We'll pay the German side £11m for a player who has scored 18 goals in 28 appearances this season. It's an astonishing piece of business for a German International with 95 caps to his name.
Arsene Wenger wanted the German to join us in January but the striker didn't want to move to England mid-season and mess up his chances of getting in his national team's squad for Euro 2012. He also didn't want to let his club down either, especially when they were having a tough season already.
Having signed for The Arsenal, Podolski 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."
After what happened last summer, it's good to see the club taking action to get their transfer targets in place before the end of the season. To announce a transfer on April 30 isn't normally the Arsenal way, but I don't mind if we're not scrabbling around on August 31 this year.
There have been concerns about Podolski's ability to adapt because of his disappointing spell at Bayern Munich. I'm told that one of the main reasons why he chose Arsenal was because Arsene Wenger speaks German. This will help him adapt, as will playing with German international team mate Per Mertesacker, who appears to be good friends with Podolski.
So with Podolski done and dusted before this season is even over who's next? Well from what I'm hearing the club are going all out to sign Yann M'Vila after missing out on him last summer. There also appears to be an ongoing move to speak with Ajax about Jan Vertonghen, because the Belgium international will be out of contract next summer.
While it's nice to have a distraction from Saturday's draw at Stoke, we shouldn't take our eye off our main prize which is to finish third. To do that we must beat Norwich at the weekend. The players will return to training today and that must be their main focus.
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