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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Life and Style
Duchess of Cambridge standswith officials outside of the former wartime spy centre in Bletchley Park
tech
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'