Premier League clubs Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City are set to lose out in the race for German International Lukas Podolski at Bayern Munich after the Bundesliga giants revealed that the striker will return to former club Cologne at the end of the season.
Spurs have been heavily linked with a move for 23-year-old Podolski since the summer, while City manager Mark Hughes is reportedly keen to bring Polish-born Podolski to the Eastlands Stadium during the transfer window.
Toffees manager David Moyes is desperate to sign a striker in January, with James Vaughan out with a long-term knee injury and Nigerian International Yakubu ruled out for the rest of the season after picking up an achilles injury in the 1-0 Premiership win against Spurs at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Podolski, despite being a regular for the German national team has found limited opportunities this season under coach Jurgen Klinsman, who has preferred to play Miroslav Klose and Italian Luca Toni upfront for the Bundesliga club.
However, Podolski looks set to leave the Allianz Arena for Cologne, who he left for Bayern in 2006, with his former club having first option on the forward should he be allowed to leave the Munich side.
This has been confirmed by Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness, who has revealed that Bayern,will accommodate Podolski’s wish to leave the Allianz Arena, however this would depend on Klinsman finding a replacement for the striker.
Hoeness said: “We think we can fulfil his wish to go back to Cologne.”