Former gunner and powerful forward Lukas Podolski has signed a deal with a Japanese club in a big money move.
German World Cup winner Lukas Podolski has formally joined Japan’s Vissel Kobe, the J-League club said Thursday, bucking a trend of big-name players moving to cash-rich China.
The 31-year-old forward, who has played for Turkey’s Galatasaray since 2015, is expected to arrive in Japan in June.
Kobe did not give immediate details of the deal, although Podolski is understood to have signed a three-year contract worth $15 million. Podolski, who joined Galatasaray from English Premier League club Arsenal, via a loan spell at Inter Milan, cost Kobe an estimated transfer fee of around $3 million.
The former Germany international’s decision to choose Japan comes as a surprise with many big-name footballers now moving to China for mega-bucks in the twilight of their careers. It also represents something of a coup for the J-League, which used to attract luminaries such as Zico and Gary Lineker when it began in 1993 but has struggled to attract marquee players in recent years.
“We are delighted to welcome such a world-class striker to Kobe,” Vissel president Hiroshi Mikitani said in a statement.
“We expect big things from Podolski, who has played for some of Europe’s top clubs, as part of Kobe’s bid to win the title.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho on Wednesday scored the fifth and last goal of the match as Manchester City whipped Huddersfield 5-1 in a last 16 replay at the Etihad Stadium. Substitute Iheanacho who came in for Sergio Aguero in the 79th minute completed City’s 5-1 rout in the 90th minute. The goal was indeed the final act of an impressive display from Man City, who came from behind to seal a handsome win.
Manchester City cruised into the FA Cup quarter-finals after fighting back to beat much-changed Championship promotion hopefuls Huddersfield in their fifth-round replay.