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Celtic sign Loovens from Cardiff

Glenn Loovens
Loovens arrived for his medical with Celtic in Glasgow on Friday

Celtic have completed the signing of Dutch defender Glenn Loovens from Cardiff City for about 2.5m.

The 24-year-old, who had been a target for Rangers, has agreed a four-year contract with the Glasgow club.

Loovens told Celtic's website: "It really is a tremendous honour to sign for a club of Celtic's stature.

"I am really looking forward to playing for a team that has such an incredible history - and such well-known and passionate supporters."

Rangers manager Walter Smith had admitted on Friday that being knocked out of Europe at the first stage had hampered his attempts to beat Celtic to Loovens' signature.

And Loovens was quoted as saying that the lure of Champions League football had swung what had been a difficult decision.

"The club has enjoyed great success in recent years, winning titles and cups in Scotland and doing well in the Champions League," said the new Celtic signing.

If I'd wanted to make sure I got somebody who was far better than Mick or Gary, I'd need to pay fifteen to twenty million pound.

Gordon Strachan

"I am looking forward to the challenges here and hope to play my part in further honours."

The former Netherlands Under-21 international becomes Celtic's fourth summer signing.

Loovens played a key role alongside Roger Johnson in central defence during Cardiff's progress to the FA Cup final last season.

But he had just one year left on his Ninian Park contract after refusing to sign a new deal.

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan was quick to point out that the acquisition of Loovens was not intended as a replacement for Gary Caldwell but part of an overall plan to strengthen the squad.

"He's a centre-half, he's got decent height and he can play - so he's a good player," said Strachan.

"If I'd wanted to make sure I got somebody who was far better than Mick or Gary, I'd need to pay 15-20m. So that's not going to happen.

"We're buying players that we think we can make better, mould into the team, put pressure on people and claim a place for themselves."

Cardiff boss Dave Jones had hoped to keep Loovens, but the man he signed from Feyenoord for 200,000 in 2006 wanted to play at a higher level.

"We're disappointed to lose any player," said Jones.

"But we stuck to our guns on a price and it's not a bad bit of business for us.

"Glenn was the only one who wouldn't sign a new contract and he talked about signing a pre-contract agreement with them in January.

"So the board thought we may as well cash in now to have funds to strengthen the squad.

Cardiff chairman Peter Ridsdale has told Jones that the Loovens cash will be his to strengthen the Bluebirds squad for their Championship play-off push.

606: DEBATE
oftowembley

"In the circumstances accepting a bid that met our valuation of the player was the only sensible option available to us," said Ridsdale.

"Dave Jones has been given all of the money from this transfer to strengthen the squad."

A sell-on clause in Loovens' contract will mean his previous club, Feyenoord, will benefit from any successful transfer.

Cardiff have now banked 10m from transfers this year as Loovens follows Chris Gunter and Aaron Ramsey - who left for the Premier League for 2m and 5m respectively - out of Ninian Park.


see also
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales


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