Arsenal's hopes of signing long-term target Lukas Podolski have been dealt a significant blow, after reports in the Italian press suggested Lazio have entered the race for his signature.

The 26-year-old Cologne striker has been heavily linked with a move to north London, following speculation he had passed a medical ahead of a £10.9million summer deal.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is known to be on the lookout for attacking reinforcements at the Emirates Stadium, as he looks to not only strengthen his squad, but also convince captain Robin van Persie that the club matches his own trophy ambitions.

According to Corriere dello Sport, the Serie A outfit have made the prolific Bundesliga striker their number one transfer priority when the transfer window reopens in June.

Wenger is determined to bring a number of big name signings to Arsenal ahead of the 2012-13 campaign, but will have to act fast if Podolski is going to be one of them.

In response to speculation he had agreed a deal in principle to join Arsenal, Podolski revealed last week that no negotiations had taken place, which now seems to have alerted the attention of rival clubs.

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