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Arsenal may have to settle for Germany striker Lukas Podolski after being told Bayern Munich are favourites to sign their top target Mario Goetze.
Arsenal boss Wenger was ready to spend around £30 million on Borussia Dortmund sensation Goetze and the German star was keen on a move.
But it has emerged that Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes wants him at the Allianz Arena and Goetze’s advisors agree that he should nurture his talent in the Bundesliga before moving abroad.
Despite being on the brink of signing Thierry Henry on a short loan deal, Wenger knows that he needs to add firepower to his squad with Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh heading off to the Africa Nations Cup later this month.
And Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker thinks fellow German international Podolski would be perfect for the Gunners.
He said: “He scores a lot of goals, he’s a good striker with a very good left foot.
“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 slapped a £12.5 million rating on the German international whose current contract expires in June 2013.
There are reports in Germany that Podolski has fallen out with the club’s director of Sport, Volker Finke.
Claus Horstman, Cologne’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,”
The Cologne striker, 26, is keen on a move to the Emirates, but is still waiting for a deal to be struck between the two clubs.
He has struck 14 league goals for Cologne so far this season.
Podolski’s potential was first acclaimed in the 2004 European Championships. He was the youngest debutant in Germany’s football history when he played for Rudi Voller’s side.
At the 2006 World Cup Podolski was chosen as the biggest emerging talent of the finals, being picked by FIFA ahead of Spain’s Cesc Fabregas, Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
His three goals helped the hosts to reach the semifinals.
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