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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Wes Brown is sent-off
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review