LUKAS PODOLSKI is delighted Arsenal are now spending big — even though he will face more competition up front.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is set to smash the North London club’s transfer record after agreeing a £23million deal for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.
Wenger, who has a £70m transfer kitty, is also ready to pounce for Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney should he become available.
German star Podolski, who cost £11m from Cologne 12 months ago, is determined to fight for a spot against the likes of Higuain and French frontman Olivier Giroud.
Podolski, 28, insisted: “It is always good when good players come in. I don’t worry about a specific player. And it is certainly not a problem.
“I am strong enough and I have qualities. And when good players come in, I will play with good players.
“Every season players come in and players go. But I think it is good news if top players come in.
“The hope is that this season Arsenal will be at the top of the league. English football, thankfully, is not like Spain where you only have two teams — Barcelona and Real Madrid — who fight at the top.
“In the Premier League you have five, six, even seven top, top teams.
“It is very difficult but I know that Arsenal are one of those top teams who will be involved. You don’t know how the season will work out. A few of the other teams all have new managers so it is difficult to say.
“But they will be strong and equally, Arsenal will be strong.”
The Gunners head to the Far East on Thursday where they kick off pre-season in Indonesia.
They will then become the first Premier League team to play in Vietnam when they face the national side on July 17.
Wenger also faces his old club Nagoya Grampus in Japan before heading to Tokyo for the final game of the tour against Urawa Red Diamonds.
Arsenal return to London to stage the Emirates Cup, playing Napoli and Galatasaray, before completing their build-up with a friendly against Manchester City in Finland’s capital Helsinki. Most of Arsenal’s players were back in training last week.
But Podolski only returns to London Colney tomorrow after playing in the United States with Germany — and rewriting his country’s football history by scoring after just NINE SECONDS of their 4-2 win over Ecuador.
He added: “I am proud to score in any game for Germany but this was something special. To be part of history in German football is amazing.
“Since then, I have spent some time in Poland and been to Dubai on holiday with my family.
“But it will be good to be back in training and I feel fit. This is a very important time of the year. This will be my first tour with Arsenal and I am really looking forward to it. I hope Arsenal can have a good pre-season and, hopefully, all of us can be injury free. It is good to have Jack Wilshere back but we need all our players to be available.
“Last season was a good season for me. I scored a lot of goals and made a lots of assists so I was happy.
“I came from a small team like Cologne so it was not easy but, hopefully, this year will be better.”
Podolski swapped the football pitch for the race track ahead of tomorrow’s German Grand Prix when he met Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the Nurburgring.
Another highlight of the summer for the striker, who banged in 16 goals for the Gunners last season, was chatting to pop star Rihanna after a gig in Cologne.
But the biggest boost was hometown team Bergheim getting promoted to Germany’s fifth division.
Podolski has always taken great pride in the club and has helped provide better facilities and kit for them.
He added: “It was great to meet Rihanna as I am a big fan — but Bergheim finishing first in their league was special.
“A lot of my friends are involved and Bergheim doing well makes me very happy.
“Now they have won promotion, hopefully, I can help to get some more staff at the club while ordering new jerseys for the team.”

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