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Lukas Podolski during his recent visit to JDT’s training centre in Johor Baru. PIC COURTESY OF JOHOR DARUL TA’ZIM

KUALA LUMPUR: Lukas Podolski is now available for hire as J-League’s Vissel Kobe have confirmed that the German star has left the club amid speculation he is to join reigning Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT).

The 35-year-old has attracted interest from several clubs and according to, the former Arsenal forward will sign an 18-month deal with Turkish Super Liga side Antalyaspor soon.

Social media was abuzz on Jan 15 after JDT appeared to close in on the signing of Podolski.

The 2014 World Cup winner with Germany posted a picture which showed him posing with the club's owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, with the caption “Prince meets Prince.”

Podolski joined Vissel in 2017 on a two-and-a-half-year deal with an estimated annual salary US$5.4 million. He scored 15 goals in 52 matches and helped Vissel win their maiden Emperor's Cup earlier this month.

“I always had incredible support from the first day I played in Kobe until winning the national title on the last. I will never forget it,” Podolski said in a statement through the team.

Podolski, who played in three consecutive World Cups and helped Germany win its fourth title in Brazil in 2014, marked his J-League debut with a brace in July 2017 and finished his first season with five goals.

He was the first of several marquee signings by Vissel and was joined in 2018 by former Spain internationals Andres Iniesta and David Villa. The latter retired at the end of last season to help start a new club in the United States.

Podolski declined to say where he was headed after Japan but has attracted interest from several clubs all over the world.

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