Rioch signs Bergkamp to signal new era

 

For Arsenal, it was history in more ways than one. Not only did the pounds 7.5m paid by Bruce Rioch for Dennis Bergkamp treble the club's record outlay, but the Dutch international striker's arrival from Internazionale yesterday must be first instance of a Tottenham fan receiving a rapturous welcome in Highbury's marble halls.

Bergkamp, who idolised Glenn Hoddle and Steve Archibald as part of his boyhood devotion to North London's other club, signed a four-year deal to become Rioch's first signing for Arsenal. His contract is reportedly worth pounds 25,000 a week, making him the British game's highest-paid player and shattering the wage structure rigidly maintained under George Graham's managership.

As part of the transfer, which eclipses the pounds 2.5m Graham invested in both Ian Wright and John Hartson, Bergkamp will make his home debut in a friendly against Inter on 10 August. It may not be the most amicable of friendlies; he made little impact after an pounds 8m transfer from Ajax to the Milan club in 1993, scoring just 11 goals in 52 Serie A matches, and was apparently regarded within the Inter dressing-room as an aloof outsider.

Unconcerned by Bergkamp's problems in Italy, Rioch, who immediately allocated the Dutchman his favoured No 10 shirt, hailed his new recruit as "a world- class player with wonderful ability, technically excellent and an individual capable of applying his considerable ability to the benefit of the team". Rioch added: "This clearly indicates our ambition, intention and determination to compete with any club for the very best players."

The domestic campaign was a disaster for Arsenal last season, marked by slump on the pitch and sleaze off it. As a symbol of a fresh start, Rioch could hardly have picked a better signing than the skilful, deep- lying six-footer from Amsterdam. Bergkamp could well have the same galvanising effect that Jurgen Klinsmann had at Spurs. Unlike Klinsmann, Bergkamp has not insisted in an opt-out clause, and stressed that he intended seeing out his contract.

The 26-year-old newcomer clearly caught the revivalist mood after an afternoon spent at the stadium with two agents, his wife, brother, officials of both clubs and an army of media men. "It wasn't a difficult choice because Arsenal are one of the biggest clubs in the world," Bergkamp said. "It's very attractive to me because English teams like to attack, and whenever I've played against sides here there have always been possibilities to score. I'm also looking forward to playing alongside Ian Wright, a great player. I know Arsenal didn't win anything last season, but with this manager and this team I believe we can change that situation."

Bergkamp dismissed reports that Barcelona had shown a late interest, but suggested any bid would have been of no use. "When I heard from my agent one week ago that Arsenal wanted to have me I never thought about any other team," he said.

To make way for Bergkamp, Kevin Campbell is likely to join Nottingham Forest for pounds 2m, while Watford are among the clubs who have asked about the availability of Alan Smith.

Rioch's coup rather stole the thunder from Spurs, who had earlier agreed to pay pounds 4.5m for Chris Armstrong, the Crystal Palace striker. The 24-year- old picked Spurs in preference to Everton, forcing Joe Royle into a further re-think following his setback when Stan Collymore opted to join Liverpool.

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Life & Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers