£20m Arsenal target likened to Messi

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Reported Arsenal target Lukas Podolksi is as important to FC Cologne as Lionel Messi is to Barcelona, according to Stale Solbakken.

The German striker has scored eight times in 12 appearances for the Billy Goats this season and, as ever, has been attracting interest from clubs of a greater stature.

According to reports in Germany, Arsenal are one of those clubs, and a January bid from Arsene Wenger in the region of £20 million has already been mooted.

However, Solbakken believes selling Podolski to Arsenal - or anyone else for that matter - would be a great travesty for the club.

"Lukas is perhaps the Bundesliga's best player," the Cologne boss told Bild. "Barcelona are not Barcelona without Messi. Koln are not Koln without Poldi."

Arsenal have reportedly identified Podolski, 26, as an ideal foil for Gunners skipper Robin van Persie, who has been in sensational form this year.

Van Persie has netted 16 times in 18 appearances for club and country this term, while he has 39 goals in 43 games in 2011.

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