Lukas Podolski
The Lukas Podolski Sportpark, home ground of FC Bergheim 2000, is where the Germany forward had his first football sessions. REUTERS

English Premier League club Arsenal are believed to be on top in the race to land German Bundesliga side FC Koln's striker, Lukas Podolski. The reports have been strengthened by suggestions the player himself fancies a move out of Germany as soon as possible.

However, Podolski, 26, has made it very clear that a move will only happen if he is guaranteed first team football at his new club, as he looks to stay in contention for a place in the German national team ahead of next summer's European Championships.

Although the Gunners' boss, Arsene Wenger, earlier ruled out placing any bids for players in the January transfer window, it now seems clear that the club could make a bid for the German, as they should be in need of a second striker, following reports the likes of Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh will leave the Emirates.

Podolski, however, will know he faces stiff competition from Dutchman Robin van Persie and Ivorian Gervinho, who have shown immense quality in their respective roles this season, should he transfer to the English club.

The player's ongoing contract negotiations with Koln are reportedly at a standstill with the club hopeful of a deal being agreed in the winter. Sources, however, claim Podolski could be on his way to England and to Arsenal.

The striker has also attracted attention from Italy and Russia, according to a report.

Lukas Josef Podolski has made a total of 164 appearances for the club and has managed to score 79 times thus far.