Ex-Arsenal star Podolski mobbed by fans on arrival in Japan

Former Arsenal star Lukas Podolski was mobbed by adoring fans as he touched down in Japan after signing for Vissel Kobe.

The former Germany international has made the move to Asia from Galatasaray on a reported £4million deal halfway through the J1 League.

Kobe sit 11th in the table after being humiliated against Kawasaki Frontale losing 5-0, leaving them 13 points behind leaders Kashima Antlers.

They had hoped to sign the 32-year-old before the Spring window closed on March 31, but he elected to finish his campaign at Cimbom, where he ended up with 17 goals for the season.

Speaking of his move to Ushi, he said: “The first target is to fight for the first three places (in the J-League) and to qualify for the (Asian) Champions League.

“I think as well it is a nice challenge for me to see other countries and play against other big teams.” said the striker as quoted by SunSports

His arrival at Kobe airport caused a stir amongst supporters, with thousands of fans greeting him on Thursday as they revelled in the German World Cup winner proudly donning their jersey.

Fans will have to wait over three weeks for Podolski to make his debut though, where he is sure to be in the starting line-up when they face Omiya Ardija on July 29.

He is the biggest football icon to have made the switch to Japan since Uruguayan legend Diego Forlan played for Cerezo Osaka in the 2014/15 campaign.

Another notable European who donned the jersey of Kobe was former Barcelona and Real Madrid star Michael Laudrup who netted eight times in 21 games between 1996-1997.

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