FC Cologne striker Lukas Podolski will join Arsenal at the end of the season for an undisclosed fee, the Bundesliga club have announced.
Club chairman Claus Horstmann revealed that Cologne had offered the German international new terms on his contract, but a transfer to the Premier League club was agreed upon instead.
“We deeply regret his step, which is not a decision against FC but for the good of his own career,” Horstmann said in a statement.
“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 FC Cologne’s reputation and we feel the need to thank him for numerous great football experiences at Cologne.”
The striker has been linked heavily with the Gunners in recent months, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger publicly stating his admiration for the former Bayern Munich player in March.
And the 26-year-old Podolski has thanked Cologne fans before his switch to the Emirates Stadium.
“The move to Arsenal provides a great opportunity for me to gain experience in international competitions at a European top club,” Podolski said.
“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 FC Cologne, our fans and the city are something special for me.
“I will always carry FC Cologne in my heart. We need to pool our strengths now and have to be fully focussed on our survival in the Bundesliga.”