Arsenal in £7m deal for Rosicky, 'the new Bergkamp'

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The Independent Football

Arsenal were last night completing the signing of Tomas Rosicky for around £7m. The 25-year-old play-maker left the Czech Republic's pre-World Cup training camp in Austria yesterday morning to fly to London for contract negotiations. He has been ear-marked as the replacement for Dennis Bergkamp, who retired this month.

An announcement is expected today from Arsenal, with Rosicky passing his medical after a fee was agreed with his club, Borussia Dortmund. The signing is a clear statement of intent from Arsenal following Thierry Henry's decision to sign a new four-year deal.

Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has long coveted Rosicky, who will be pivotal to his country's hopes in Germany, having scored 15 goals in 53 games.

What will puzzle Arsenal supporters is how Rosicky, who cost Dortmund £18m when he joined from Sparta Prague in 2001, fits into their team. As a natural central midfielder he appears to be a rival to Cesc Fabregas as the team's most creative player, although it is unthinkable that Wenger would consider replacing the Spanish teenager.

Instead he is likely to try to assimilate the two players in the same line-up, with Rosicky playing further forward as a withdrawn striker, which may be bad news for players such as Robin van Persie.