Report: Lukas Podolski to join Vissel Kobe this week

Galatasaray striker Lukas Podolski will leave the club in order to join J1 League side Vissel Kobe, Turkish media have reported.

According to fotoMac, the 31-year-old will bid farewell to his teammates in Istanbul on Tuesday before flying to Japan to complete his medical and contract signing.

The high-profile move was widely reported during the January transfer window, but did not materialize as Vissel seemed resigned to complete the signing after the conclusion of the Super Lig season.

But the Japanese club’s hand appears to have been forced after ace striker Leandro, who shared the J1’s Golden Boot last season with 19 goals, suffered a tear to his left ACL that will keep him off the pitch through August.

Podolski, who announced his international retirement last summer after 48 goals in 129 appearances for Germany, could become the first foreign star to join the J.League following an infusion of cash from league broadcaster DAZN in a blockbuster 10-year, $2 billion deal.

Vissel’s parent company Rakuten made waves of their own in November when they were revealed to be Barcelona’s new uniform sponsor beginning next season.