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Chas Newkey-Burden, 'Marc Overmars website'
"An agreement has been reached between Arsenal and Barcelona to sell Marc"
 real 28k

Nigel Winterburn, Ex-Arsenal defender
"I don't think Arsenal have the players to take Overmars' and Petit's positions"
 real 28k

David Dein, Arsenal vice-chairman
"We don't want to lose world class players but this is the world of football"
 real 56k

Marc Overmars
"Hopefully I can play as well as Figo"
 real 56k

Friday, 28 July, 2000, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
Overmars and Petit join Barcelona
Petit and Overmars
Petit and Overmars will be missed at Highbury
Arsenal are to sell Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit to Barcelona for a combined fee of around 32m.

The Gunners agreed to the double deal after vice-chairman David Dein held lengthy negotiations with Barcelona's new president Joan Gaspart.

Both players still have to agree personal terms with the Spanish giants but that is unlikely to be a problem.

News that Overmars and Petit are leaving Highbury will be a blow to Arsenal supporters, but the club are likely to re-invest some of the cash into new players.

Disappointed boss Arsene Wenger said: "We are obviously very sad to see both Marc and Manu leave the club, but we thank them both for their contribution to Arsenal and wish them success at Barcelona."

Five-year deal

Overmars has cost 25m according to Jansen's Sports Promotions company in Holland, a spokeswoman for whom said the player had agreed a five-year contract.

"The fee of 25m is for Marc only and it is a five-year contract," she said.

  Emmanuel Petit stats
Arsenal appearances: 118 (114 plus four as sub)
League: 85
League Cup: 3
FA Cup: 13
Charity Shield: 2
European competitions: 15
Goals: 11
League: 9
FA Cup: 2

"However, we do not know anything about Emmanuel Petit joining Barcelona."

Overmars was quoted on his own website as saying he was delighted to be heading for Barcelona.

  Marc Overmars stats
Arsenal appearances: 142 (127 and 15 as sub)
League: 100
League Cup: 4
FA Cup: 17
Charity Shield: 1
European competitions: 20
Goals: 41
League: 25
League Cup: 2
FA Cup: 7
European competitions: 6

He will link up with international team-mates Patrick Kluivert, Frank and Ronald de Boer and Winston Bogarde at the club.

"I can't wait to pull on the famous shirt and play my first game," said Overmars.

"Although the fee has nothing to do with me, all the same it is flattering to be the subject of such a high fee, which I believe is the highest in Dutch football history.

"I certainly intend to make history at the Nou Camp. Its been a fantastic three years for me at Highbury, now for the next chapter in my career."

Overmars in action for Holland at Euro 2000

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, currently in Germany at a training camp with the rest of the Arsenal squad, was desperate to hang on to both players but Barcelona's enormous offer proved too tempting.

The Gunners have already signed replacements in 7m Cameroon midfielder Lauren from Spain's Real Mallorca and French winger Robert Pires at 6m from Marseille.

Wenger, however, is sure to step up his search for more new signings to add to the squad.

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See also:

25 Jul 00 |  Football
Players hold all the aces
28 Jul 00 |  Sports Talk
What next for cash-happy Arsenal?
28 Jul 00 |  Arsenal
Wenger's money machine
28 Jul 00 |  Arsenal
Double winners depart
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