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Nov 24, 2008

Bidding war begins for Podolski

Hands up who wants an international class striker who has scored 31 goals in 60 games for Germany and is only 23-years-old? Well, in January, the opportunity to sign Lukas Podolski will present itself to anyone who can stump up the cash.

Ordinarily a side like Bayern Munich would leap at the chance to have such a player on their books, as Podolski is surely the future of German football for years to come. So why then has he only made four starts for the Bundesliga champions this season?

Off the back of a very successful Euro 2008 campaign for his country, Podolski has been frozen out by Bayern, who prefer to play with Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose up front and it seems the management at the club have a problem with the Polish-born star.

Even the arrival of former national coach Juergen Klinsmann has not helped his situation and after not being given the chance to shine at Germany's most successful club, he has spoken out publicly about his unhappiness at the Allianz-Arena. Rumours linking Stuttgart's Mario Gomez with a move and the loan-signing of American star Landon Donovan proved the last straw and the striker will look to move on in the transfer window after two years at the club.

A possible return to Cologne, where Podolski began his career, has been talked about with the Rhineland side apparently having first option on his services. But languishing in mid-table in the less glamorous surroundings of the Bundesliga must surely come second to a desire to play in the Premier League if the opportunity presents itself.

Tottenham Hotspur were linked with a £12 million bid in July and head the queue as they clearly need another striker. Harry Redknapp's side would seem an ideal destination for the player given the number of high-class youngsters at the club, but ultimately Spurs may be put off by Bayern's asking price.

The Bavarians will surely ask upwards of £15 million for one of the stars of Euro 2008 and, despite his lack of first-team action, Podolski is a very experienced 23 with his whole career ahead of him.

Full of pace and offering the versatility of playing in wing role, more likely may be a switch to cash-rich Manchester City. With a blank chequebook and a desire for success the Abu Dhabi United Group are keen to recruit the world's best young talent and Podolski could follow Vincent Kompany and Robinho through the door at Eastlands, before a deluge of star names like Kaka, David Villa and Cristiano Ronaldo turn them down.

Ideally, he would be leaving for another club that would offer him Champions League football, but offers may come in slowly for a player who has been unable to hold down a first-team place at one of Europe's top clubs - whatever the reason.

Wherever he ends up, Podolski should be the given the chance to show his obvious talent. If a national side of the class of Germany are able to get the best out of him, then a side offering a future of European football might get themselves a bargain. Bayern might just regret letting him go.

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