Arsenal striker target ‘under pressure' to sign

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Cologne general manager Volker Finke has shrugged off speculation linking star striker Lukas Podolski with a January exit, and says he expects him to extend his deal in the near future amid reported interest from Arsenal.

The 26-year-old German international has a contract at the RheinEnergie stadium until 2013, but with rumours circulating that he is attracting attention from a host of European clubs, the Bundesliga outfit plan to open negotiations shortly.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been credited with an interest in the Polish-born forward, who arrived at Cologne from Bayern Munich back in 2009.

With eight goals already this season, Podolski's form has seen his name mentioned as a signing that would add to Arsenal's attacking options at the Emirates Stadium, and help ease the pressure on captain Robin Van Persie.

But Finke refused to be drawn on the speculation linking him with the Gunners when questioned by German daily newspaper BILD:

"I am trying to stay indifferent to rumours like this," he said. "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."

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