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  Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 23:32 GMT 00:32 UK
Barca seal Mendieta loan deal
Lazio paid 26m for Mendieta
Mendieta failed to shine at Lazio last season
Barcelona have signed Lazio midfielder Gaizka Mendieta after the Italian club solved a contractual problem that initially scuppered the deal.

Barcelona will also have an option to buy the former Valencia player for an unspecified fee at the end of the season, according to the Catalan club's official website.

Mendieta is due to arrive at the club on Sunday and will undergo a medical the following day before being presented as a Barca player.

Lazio paid Valencia 26m for Mendieta just a year ago.

But the agreement contained a clause guaranteeing Valencia around 7.5m if he moved back to Spain before 2003.

That penalty clause appeared to have killed off Barcelona's interest when it emerged during negotiations to buy Mendieta in June.

Valencia agreed to reduce that amount this week following a meeting with Lazio, giving the green light for Barcelona to make a renewed bid.

The Italian club's president, Sergio Cragnotti, met his Valencia counterpart Jaime Orti on Thursday to try to solve the problem.

Orti told reporters after the meeting: "We've reached an agreement with Lazio and they can now negotiate with Barcelona."

He declined to give details of the accord but Spanish newspapers claimed Valencia would receive up to 2m if Mendieta signs a loan deal or 10% of the transfer fee if the move is permanent.

Since moving to Rome, the Basque-born midfielder has failed to show the form that made his reputation as one of Europe's finest playmakers.

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