Podolski ‘signs with Arsenal for €13 million’

Germany forward Lukas Podolski is leaving FC Cologne at the end of the season to join Arsenal for €13 million, the daily paper Bild said on Thursday.

Podolski 'signs with Arsenal for €13 million'
Photo: DPA

The German club, currently 14th in the Bundesliga, made no confirmation of the claim but Bild, which is generally well-informed, said he had agreed terms with the English Premier League side.

But his advisor Kon Schramm said on Thursday, “We are not commenting on this matter.”

Podolski, 26, will be paid an annual salary of some €7 million, the newspaper said.

The attacker was transferred in 2009 from Bayern Munich to Cologne, where he began his career.

Ahead of the deal, Podolski had been contacting fellow German national team member Per Mertesacker, who plays for Arsenal, asking for the low-down on current conditions at the club.

The injured centre-back told German Sky Sports News television, “He has been very interested in the last few weeks and sent me a text message or two.”

“I just responded to him positively; we have a good club here and everyone here has a positive opinion of ‘Poldi’.”

Podolski’s contract with Bundesliga strugglers Cologne runs until June 2013.

The 26-year-old has made 95 appearances for Germany, is a veteran of two World Cups and was part of the team which reached the Euro 2008 final when the Germans lost to Spain.

“Nothing is fixed yet and Podolski hasn’t actually rung me,” said Mertesacker, a Germany international who is currently recovering from an ankle ligament operation.

“I think things will happen now behind closed doors.”

Podolski has scored 16 goals in 20 German league games this season – more than half of his team’s total tally of 31.

AFP/DPA/The Local/hc

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British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.