Cologne quick to quash Podolski speculation

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Cologne general manager Volker Finke has moved to quash rumours linking Lukas Podolski with a move to Arsenal, saying he expects to begin talks with the striker over a contract extension soon.

Podolski is thought to rank high on Arsene Wenger’s list of potential attacking reinforcements as the Gunners boss looks to remove some of the goal-scoring burden from the shoulders of captain Robin van Persie.

But Finke insists he is not worried by the North Londoners’ potential interest in his prized asset, and revealed he will look to open contract talks with the player’s agent before the end of the year.

"I am trying to stay indifferent to rumours like this,” he told German newspaper Bild.  “We all know what we are facing.

"Sometime around Christmas we will be going to meet to try and thrash out the contract extension of Lukas Podolski.

"I have already spoken to his agent, Kon Schramm. We have no clear date just now. Maybe we will meet two weeks before Christmas or two weeks after Christmas.

“We should fix this without any pressure."

Podolski’s manager, Stale Solbakken, was similarly unperturbed by the stories linking his star striker with a move to England.

"It's pretty usual there is big interest in a player like Podolski,” he said.

“He needs to talk to his family, his agent and the club about his future."

By Liam Twomey