Dear Dennis Bergkamp

Dutch football's shining star has signed a record-breaking pounds 13.5m transfer deal ... with Arsenal. Has he gone mad?
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The Independent Online
Why didn't you return my calls? For the past week I've hardly been off the phone trying to prevent you from making a laughably misjudged career move. But did you have the decency to pick up the phone? No, you did not. I don't mean to sound bitter, and perhaps I should have tried that little bit harder, but frankly, pal, you've gone and done it now. Four years at Arsenal without an escape clause in your contract. Does your agent not like you?

An annual 90 minutes at Highbury is more than most of us can take - four years is just ridiculous. Bafflingly, you say that Arsenal will suit you, as their attacking play will allow you to express yourself. I don't know which Arsenal fans you've been talking to - Melvyn Bragg possibly - but I have to warn you that they've pulled a fast one. You've been misinformed, Dennis, badly misinformed.

The facility with which you score against our national side may have convinced you that there is no easier league in which to ply your trade. But surely even you noticed that the big guy lumbering at least five yards behind you was none other than your new club captain. And this wish of yours to play "just behind the front two". Fine, in principle, but you do realise who this means you'll be playing alongside? Ray Parlour and Steve Morrow, that's who. Not since you quit playing street football at the age of 12 will you have tried to combine effortlessly with players of the calibre of Ray and Steve.

And have you talked through the social side of the move with your seemingly charming wife Henrita? Is she up to speed with what a night out with Steve Bould, Tony Adams and Big Dave Seaman actually involves? Has she ever been to one of Lee Dixon's dinner parties? I doubt it. Nor, take it from me, will she want to. It won't be long before you are having to juggle the demands of the lads with those of your lady wife. No fun. A verdict which also applies to the attentions of our broad-minded tabloid press. You say you value your privacy above everything else. Oh, well then, come and play professional football in England - it's got to make sense.

To end on a bright note, there is one glimmer of hope. I couldn't help noticing that your chairman and employer claimed the deal was "madness" before signing your contract. And bosses who give you a job on an "I'm mad but what the hell" basis tend to come to their senses and renege on any contract signed during their period of temporary insanity. Who knows? A couple of niggling injuries and a lean spell and we could have you out of there by Christmas.

WILL BUCKLEY

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