Arsenal's £20m target set for Xmas talks - reports

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Arsenal are believed to have sent scouts to run the rule over FC Cologne striker Lukas Podolski with a view to making a bid in January.

According to reports in the German media, the 26-year-old German international has been identified as the man to help alleviate pressure on Gunners captain Robin Van Persie, by providing much-needed goalscoring cover.

Arsene Wenger is keen to bolster his attacking options, with a striker that is far more prolific and reliable than the ones currently on his books at the Emirates Stadium.

Podolski will enter the final 18months of his contract at the turn of the year, and Cologne are attempting to be proactive in scheduling negotiations over a new deal amid reported interest from Arsenal - although a date has yet to be set.

"The big goal is that Lukas Podolski stays on with us and we will start those talks with him early," Cologne's general manager Volker Finke told Sky Deutschland television. "We do not need to get under pressure, therefore Christmas is a perfect date to start talking.

"We will have months left then until the summer. I will, however, not make a decision on the concrete date.

"It is a fact that we need an agreement, an agreement every party is happy with. We have certain financial opportunities. But we will try to make our best player happy."

With 93 international caps already to his name, Arsenal could do worse than sign a player of Podolski's experience. But if they are serious about bringing him to England, they will need to break the bank and pay anything up to £20million for his signature.

A deal would show a signal of intent from the rejuvenated Gunners, who enjoyed a thrilling 5-3 victory over Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League at the weekend, as Wenger looks to get the club's season back on course.

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