German league title contenders Schalke 04 admitted Saturday they are interested in signing Germany star Lukas Podolski from Cologne.
The 26-year-old, who is nearing a century of caps, has been in good form this season scoring 11 goals in 13 matches. He is under contract at mid-table Cologne until 2013 and is valued by German daily Bild at around 25million euros.
Schalke chairman Clemens Toennies told Bild the club are looking at Podolski especially as veteran Spaniard Raul will be out of contract in the June.
"We are thinking about lots of names and Lukas Podolski is one of those," said Toennies, whose side are second in the table behind Bayern Munich on goal difference after a 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin on Friday.
"It's not a case of whether we can afford Lukas, more whether we want to."
Premier League side Arsenal and Italian giants Lazio - who snapped up Podolski's veteran German international team-mate Miroslav Klose in the summer - are just two of the clubs who have also been linked to him recently and Cologne's director of sport Volker Finke said Schalke's interest is no shock.
"Certainly, it's a commendation for Lukas and you can take it as a compliment," he said.
"Lukas has the quality to play at the top level.
"So far, no one has contacted us from Schalke.
"Our position is that we want to extend his contract and hope to talk to him in the winter break (which starts December 18)."