Kuyt flies in to join Liverpool 'dream' team

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The Independent Football

Dirk Kuyt flew into Merseyside yesterday to complete his £10m "dream" move to Liverpool from Feyenoord after the two clubs agreed terms late on Wednesday.

The striker was in Dublin then, for the Netherlands' friendly against the Republic of Ireland, which they won 4-0, with Kuyt coming on at half-time. The 26-year-old returned to Amsterdam yesterday with the squad but immediately caught a flight to the north-west with his agent, Rob Jansen.

The Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has tracked Kuyt for some time and the player was keen to move to Anfield, but there have been wrangles over the fee.

Initially, Liverpool had hoped to secure a cash-plus-player move, involving Jan Kromkamp or even the goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek. Feyenoord were interested only in cash although their position has been weakened because few other clubs have shown strong enough interest of late, especially after Kuyt's disappointing World Cup.The Newcastle United chairman Freddie Shepherd and manager Glenn Roeder were in Dublin to watch him on Wednesday - as well as collect two of their players, Stephen Carr and Alan O'Brien - but Kuyt's heart was set on Liverpool.

"Lots of times trainers and scouts come to visit me," he said after the match. "It [Newcastle's interest] has been going on a long time and doesn't interest me. There is one club of my dreams, where I want to play and if that club wants me, then I want to go."

That club is Liverpool and yesterday Kuyt spoke of his joy at a deal finally being agreed. "There was more interest from abroad, but for me there was nothing of the calibre of Liverpool... It is an honour to play for a club like that. I leave Feyenoord with mixed feelings. I have experienced three great years in Rotterdam, despite us not winning any major prizes."

The Feyenoord chairman Jorien van den Herik said: "We did everything we could to keep Dirk. We went a long way to do that and Dirk was open to that, but we knew that the chance was he would leave if his dream club came in. Liverpool was, and is, his dream club. Many clubs have tried to contract Dirk over the recent period, but he's said 'no' to clubs every time because they were not appealing enough... That characterises Dirk's attitude: either Feyenoord or my dream club."

If Liverpool can complete the medical and final details of the move, Kuyt could be in the squad to face Sheffield United in the season's opener at Bramall Lane tomorrow. But it is more likely that he will feature in the Champions' League trip to Kiev next week to face Maccabi Haifa. His arrival may hasten the departure of Florent Sinama-Pongolle.

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