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Gunners linked with Podolski swoop

Arsenal are believed to be preparing a £10 million transfer bid for Lukas Podolski, amid reports the FC Cologne striker has fallen out with the club's director of sport, Volker Finke.

• Vermaelen forces Wenger into market

Podolski, 26, has scored 14 goals in 16 Bundesliga games this season and is in some of the best form of his career, but the Germany international has hinted that he may leave Cologne as his contract expires.

The reported bust-up with Finke could hasten Podloski's exit and Claus Horstman, the German club's managing director, virtually confirmed the rift, saying: "The two don't have to love each other, but they must respect each other and trust each other."

Arsene Wenger has already signed up New York Red Bull's striker Thierry Henry on a short-term loan deal in order to add more fire power to the Arsenal attack, but Podolski would provide a long-term partner for Robin van Persie.

And Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker thinks fellow German international Podolski would be perfect for the Gunners. "He scores a lot of goals, he's a good striker with a very good left foot," he said.

"His left foot is unbelievable and I'm a fan of his. This year, he has scored a lot of goals. He is powerful as well – he's a great player."

Cologne have reportedly slapped a £12.5 million price tag on Podolski, but with his contract due to expire in June 2013 there is room for negotiation.

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