Bronckhorst completes Barca switch
BARCELONA, Spain -- Giovanni van Bronckhorst has completed his permanent switch to Barcelona after signing a three-year deal with the Catalan giants for a fee of two million euros.
The Dutchman has spent this season on loan at the Nou Camp from Arsenal and impressed Barca coach Frank Rijkaard.
The 29-year-old left back or left mindfielder has been a regular in the Barcelona side since joining the club, appearing in 33 La Liga games.
Van Bronckhorst moved to the Gunners from Rangers three years ago in an £8.5million deal but made just 22 Premiership starts for Arsene Wenger's side.
However, he is likely to be the only Dutchman playing at the Nou Camp next season, after Barcelona revealed they are to sell striker Patrick Kluivert and winger Marc Overmars, as well as release on free transfers compatriots Philip Cocu and Michael Reiziger.
Their departures will virtually signal the end of the days of when the club was called 'Ajax Barcelona' because of the number of Dutch players, mainly from Ajax, brought in by then manager Louis van Gaal.
Cocu's departure is the most surprising of the four as he was captain of the side and had played more than 200 matches for Barcelona -- scoring 31 goals in his seven year stint.
The 33-year-old PSV Eindhoven target rejected the Catalan giants offer of renewing his contract with the same salary but with an increase in his bonuses.
The departure of Kluivert is less of a surprise as he had been a peripheral figure this term as Barca, revived under Rijkaard, finished second in the table.
Kluivert, scorer of 90 goals in his 181 appearances for the club, had become a target for the fans, who thought he preferred to give priority to running his trendy bar in the city than to the club's fortunes.
Kluivert still has a year to run on his contract and his wage demands may prove a problem for a buying club.
Reiziger's departure after 173 appearances, failing to score once, for Barca was inevitable after the signing of Brazilian international fullback Belletti from UEFA Cup semi-finalists Villarreal.
Overmars has rarely threatened to live up to his predecessor in the wideman role Luis Figo.
He was bought from Arsenal to replace the Portuguese star in 2000, but the 32-year-old's performances have been so poor this season that his advancing years and diminishing value will make it difficult to sell him.