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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Bairns sign up Spanish midfielder
Arnau Riera in rare action for Sunderland
Arnau Riera was sent off in his last game for Sunderland
Falkirk head coach John Hughes has completed the signing of former Barcelona B captain Arnau Riera on a season-long loan from Sunderland.

The 25-year-old midfielder played just twice after joining the Black Cats on a three-year contract last summer.

But he impressed during Falkirk's pre-season camp in the Netherlands.

Hughes told BBC Sport how highly he rates Riera: "He has a great pedigree and impressed us. It shows the standard of player we want here."

"Arnau is a fantastic football player and I am delighted to have secured his signature.

"He passes the ball well and I think everyone, including my players, were very impressed with him in Holland.

"We researched his background extensively before he joined up with us and I have yet to find anyone who has a bad word to say about the lad, either in terms of ability or character."

"It goes without saying that you don't spend five years at the Nou Camp if you can't play."

Riera, who spent three years with Barcelona, last played for Sunderland when he was red-carded in the Carling Cup against Bury in August.

He then made just two appearances during a two-month loan spell with Southend.

Brian Allison, Scott Arfield, Chris Mitchell and Mark Stewart all have a chance of coming through

Falkirk head coach John Hughes

But Hughes said: "He is a little bit behind in terms of fitness, but he has fantastic ability and is a really hard worker."

Hughes has also not given up on bringing Kasper Schmeichel back to Falkirk Stadium following the goalkeeper's successful loan spell last season.

"Kasper does not know where his career lies at the moment," said Hughes.

"He is happy at Manchester City and has a year of his contract still to go there.

"But, with all the changes at the club, he has yet to learn what his future holds there."

Meanwhile, Hughes was delighted with the progress of some of his young players during pre-season.

"Brian Allison, Scott Arfield, Chris Mitchell and Mark Stewart, who scored in the 2-0 win over Roeselare, have all shown up well," he said.

"They all have a chance and Arfield and Allison in particular really showed they are capable of playing in the first team."

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10 Jul 07 |  Falkirk
Moutinho signs new Falkirk deal
20 Jun 07 |  Falkirk
Falkirk target Schmeichel switch
20 Jun 07 |  Falkirk
Crewe's Higdon signs for Falkirk
14 Jun 07 |  Falkirk
McCall makes early triple signing
02 Jun 07 |  Partick Thistle
Southend clinch Riera loan deal
23 Nov 06 |  Southend Utd
Bury 2-0 Sunderland
22 Aug 06 |  League Cup
Black Cats sign Barca midfielder
10 Aug 06 |  Sunderland


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