Schalke 04 confirmed on Friday their interest in signing Cologne's Germany star Lukas Podolski.
The 26-year-old is under contract with Cologne until 2013, but Gelsenkirchen-based Schalke are viewing him as a replacement next summer for Raul, 34, whose contract expires in June.
"Yes the Podolski case is keeping us busy," club official Clemens Toennies told Sport1. "We've thought about it, we've also brought up other names."
Cologne have repeatedly said they want to extend Podolski's contract when the Bundesliga's winter break starts on December 18.
With four teams entering the Champions League next season, rather than the current three, Schalke, currently fourth in the Bundesliga, have a good chance of playing in Europe's top club competition next season.
Podolsk has spent most of his career at Cologne, apart from an unsuccessful three years at Bayern when he failed to establish himself before returning to the Rhineland club in 2009.