Arsenal confirm signing of Lukas Podolski

Pick a new number, bro.

Answering months of rumor, innuendo, and actual solid reporting (for once), Arsenal and FC Köln have confirmed the transfer of striker Lukas Podolski to the London club, effective upon the opening of the summer transfer window. The German newspaper Bild reported quite a ways back that Podolski had agreed to personal terms with Arsenal, then later that the two clubs had agreed on a fee, but as time passed doubt started to set in a bit.

When the fee was reported, I said

And if this ends up not happening, so help me God, Bild are dead to me. DEAD, I SAY.

Bild lives. More after the jump.

Arsene Wenger is particularly excited to have another of his players in the Euro 2012 tournament:

We are delighted to secure the deal for Lukas and see him as an important part of our future. He is a top-class player, a very good finisher and a proven performer at club and international level. He is a very strong player and will provide us with good attacking options.

And the player himself is saying all the right things:

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.

...for Arsenal and also for the fans of the team he'll still be playing with for the next few weeks:

I am looking forward to becoming an Arsenal player, but at the moment my focus is with my current club, FC Cologne. I will give everything I have until the end of season to make sure the team finish as high as possible in the Bundesliga. There will always be a place in my heart for FC Cologne.

So what does this all mean? Well, the most important thing is that Arsenal have signed a good player for next season before this one even ended, which is an unequivocal positive unless Podolski killed your cat or something. This is the opposite of last year, and long may it continue. The question is whether Podolski will be a complimentary piece to improve the team, or a replacement for Robin van Persie. That will be decided after the season's end, when the captain enters contract negotiation. Obviously we all would prefer the former, but in either case this is a good deal.

So thanks should go to Per Mertesacker, for acting as the de facto agent in this transaction. I hope he has unlimited text messaging.

EDIT: I forgot to mention this - any talk of a Podolski song that doesn't mention this masterpiece is forfeit. Plan accordingly.

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