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Thursday, 4 July, 2002, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Manninger joins Espanyol
Alex Manninger
Manninger played second fiddle to David Seaman
Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Manninger has signed a four-year deal with Espanyol worth 960,000.

The 25-year-old has found his route into Arsenal's first team blocked by England goalkeepers David Seaman and Richard Wright.

He spent last season on loan at Italian side Fiorentina, where he impressed despite the club's relegation from Serie A.

Espanyol have been in search of a goalkeeper since deciding not to renew the contract of Juan Morato Xerez at the end of last season.

The Blanquiazul were reportedly close to acquiring German Robert Enke from Benfica, but he plumped for city rivals Barcelona.

Manninger joined Arsenal from Graz AK for 500,000 in 1997 and had one year remaining on his Highbury contract.

He will now compete with Alfredo Argenso for the goalkeeping berth at the Barcelona-based club who finished 14th in the Spanish first division last season.

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