Arsenal sells Overmars and Petit to Barcelona

Arsenal has agreed to sell Dutch winger Marc Overmars and French midfielder Emmanuel Petit to Barcelona for a combined fee believed to be more than £30m.

Arsenal has agreed to sell Dutch winger Marc Overmars and French midfielder Emmanuel Petit to Barcelona for a combined fee believed to be more than £30m.

Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein negotiated with Barcelona's new president Joan Gaspart until the early hours of the morning to finalize the deal.

All that remained to be settled was the players' personal terms to join the Spanish giants. Overmars was believed already en route to Spain to open the discussions.

The deal ended a long chase by Barcelona for the Highbury pair. Gaspart promised he would sign the pair if elected as president, achieving some consolation after losing Luis Figo to Real Madrid last week for a world record $55.5m.

Overmars' fee was £25m, according to Jansen's Sports Promotions company. A spokeswoman said he agreed to a five-year contract.

Speaking on his own website, the Dutch winger said: "Myself and Emmanuel Petit, who I believe will be joining me, were unveiled at Arsenal on the same day.

"On Saturday afternoon I will be presented to the Spanish media and Barcelona fans - I am glad Manu will be at my side again."

Overmars will link up with many of his international teammates, who followed the now departed former Ajax coach Louis van Gaal to Barcelona. Patrick Kluivert, Frank and Ronald de Boer and Winston Bogarde are among the Dutch internationals already with the club.

"Of course many of my friends and international teammates are already there," Overmars said. "I can't wait to pull on the famous shirt and play my first game.

"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."

When Gaspart arrived in London last night, he insisted he would not try to approach either Overmars or Petit - part of the French Euro 2000-winning line-up - before a deal was done with Arsenal.

"I know that people who are here (Overmars and Petit) would like to come to Barcelona, but I tell the agents that before I speak with the players, I want to speak to Arsenal," he said.

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 has proved to be more than the Londoners could resist.

Wenger admitted he would be sorry to see the pair leave Highbury, but added that they parted on good terms.

"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," he told the club's official website.

Overmars joined Arsenal from Ajax for £5.5m in the summer of 1997, shortly after Petit left Monaco for Highbury for £3.5m.

The Premiership club has 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 although it is believed Arsenal will not accept any Barcelona rejects as part of the double deal for Petit and Overmars.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 5
film
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss