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May 21, 2014

Podolski's Cologne return on hold

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has capped off a great end to the season by agreeing a new contract.

Lukas Podolski has reiterated that his future could lie at his former club Cologne when his contract runs out in 2016.

• McNicholas: Ramsey finds something extra

Podolski has been open about his desire to return to his hometown club Cologne for the latter part of his career.

The 29-year-old has been linked with a move away from Emirates Stadium this summer, but Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has insisted he is part of his plans.

"You might think it but these players are not necessarily open to a move," Wenger said about Podolski's and Thomas Vermaelen's futures at Arsenal.

"We have only two players who are out of contract -- [Lukasz] Fabianski and [Bacary] Sagna. All the rest need to have our agreement and they haven't got it yet."

Speaking to the media at a PR event in Cologne's Muengersdorfer Stadion, Podolski reiterated he would like to return to his former side.

"I am under contract at Arsenal for another two years. What will happen then, we will see," Podolski said. "It would be too early to retire at 31, I want to play for a few more years.

"We'll see if it will be down there on that pitch. Maybe we will all meet again for a news conference in these rooms."

Following two years in the second tier, Cologne won promotion to the top flight this season.

Austrian coach Peter Stoeger is focused on ensuring the club become a Bundesliga regular again, and Cologne attacker Patrick Helmes does not believe the current squad needs Podolski.

"We have a good team, and a Podolski return is not an issue," former Germany international Helmes told Sport Bild.

"He returned in 2009 [after three years at Bayern], and in retrospect a lot of people have been critical of that. The FC is currently on a good way, and do not need a superior player type like Podolski."

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