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Thursday, March 8, 2012
ESPNsoccernet: March 9, 11:55 AM UK
Podolski closes on Arsenal move

ESPNsoccernet staff and Harry Harris

Cologne striker Lukas Podolski is set to move to Arsenal in a €13 million (10.9m) move in the summer, according to ESPNsoccernet sources.

• Mertesacker: Poldi has been in touch
• Bierhoff recommends Arsenal switch
• Podolski intending to move on
• Arsenal blog: Out but proud

Podolski, 26, has been strongly linked with a move to the Gunners at the end of the season after expressing frustration with life at Cologne, who are currently 14th in the Bundesliga and are only three points off the relegation zone.

His contract expires in the summer of 2013 and reports from Germany suggest that he has agreed a deal to move on, with his wages believed to be over 100,000-a-week.

A source told ESPNsoccernet: "The deal is very close. It would be premature to say that it has been agreed, but discussions are ongoing and it won't be long now."

The Germany international, though, recently said his move would not be determined by the highest bidder. "Money is not the most important thing for me," he told Sport-Bild. "What is crucial is the development of my game."

Fellow German Per Mertesacker, who left Werder Bremen for the Gunners in the summer, revealed Podolski has already been in touch.

"He has shown a lot of interest in recent weeks and has sent me a text message," Mertesacker told Sky. "As you can imagine, I've told him positive things."

Asked whether a deal was done, he said: "I haven't been told that, and Lukas hasn't called me. I have written to him, though, to tell him how well he can do here and what a great club it is. I think it can happen."

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