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Japan-bound Podolski focused on Galatasaray for now

Istanbul (AFP) – German striker Lukas Podolski said Thursday he is focussed on the end of his stint at Galatasaray rather than on his big money June switch to Japan’s Vissel Kobe.

The 31-year-old former Arsenal star, who has played for Istanbul giant Galatasaray since 2015, announced in March he was joining Vissel Kobe in a deal understood to be worth around $15 million.

He has seen mixed fortunes in Turkey but has become a firm favourite with the Galatasaray fans and the 31-year-old said he would not hesitate coming back to Istanbul.

“I am not thinking of Japan right now,” he said in an interview with Galatasaray’s monthly magazine which had the front cover “Auf Wiedersehen (Goodbye in German) Lukas Podolski”.

“We have matches still to play with Galatasaray. It would not be right to set targets in Japan until the league is finished. 

“Then I’ll take a holiday. And then I will start thinking about Japan,” he said.

The final round of matches in Turkey’s Super Lig will be on June 4 and Podolski is hoping to ensure his Turkish team grabs a top four Europa League qualifying spot.

The presence of stars like Podolski and Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands has failed to lift the fortunes of the side over the last two years as it was dogged by frequent changes of managers.

Galatasaray are just holding fourth place afer a poor campaign, behind all their main Istanbul rivals Besiktas, Basaksehir and Fenerbahce.

But Podolski, who earlier this year retired from German international duty, said he had no regrets over his move to Turkey.

“Galatasaray has been a great stop in my career. If you ask ‘would you come again?’ the answer is ‘yes, for sure!'”

Galatasaray won the Turkish Cup last year but failed to win the Super Lig during his stay and Podolski admitted “of course things could have been better”.

“When I came I dreamt that we would win championships. But not every dream comes true in football,” he added.

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