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Barça make wholesale changes

Published: Wednesday 26 May 2004, 9.19CET
Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Juliano Belletti are joining FC Barcelona while four others are leaving. features

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Published: Wednesday 26 May 2004, 9.19CET

Barça make wholesale changes

Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Juliano Belletti are joining FC Barcelona while four others are leaving.
FC Barcelona are to sign Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Juliano Belletti, while allowing Dutch internationals Patrick Kluivert, Phillip Cocu, Michael Reiziger and Marc Overmars to leave Camp Nou.

Permanent signing
The Spanish league runners-up have agreed a three-year contract with Van Bronckhorst, following the 29-year-old Dutch international's successful season on loan from Arsenal FC. Barça technical secretary Txiki Begiristain said: "Gio is a player who can solve the team's left-sided problems."

Belletti switch
Brazilian defender Belletti will join from Primera División rivals Villarreal CF. The 27-year-old played a key role in the club's run to the UEFA Cup semi-finals and was a member of Brazil's squad at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He has penned a four-year deal.

Free to go
Meanwhile, Barcelona have said they will not renew defender Reiziger and midfield player Cocu's contracts which expire this summer. Kluivert and Overmars have a year left on their contracts but the two forwards will be free to move on, while Turkish international goalkeeper Rüstu Reçber is also expected to leave.

Fair offer
While Belletti's arrival has led to Reiziger's departure after seven years, Barça had hoped to keep Cocu, who has been at Camp Nou for six years. Begiristain explained that Barça had made what they believed was a fair offer to the 33-year-old but that he had rejected it. Begiristain said: "We wanted to keep him but had to stand firm on our position. We have to keep a cool head and not change the economic structure."

Davids deal
The Catalans have not finished their transfer activity and hope to secure a permanent deal with Edgar Davids. The Dutch midfield player was a key figure in Barça's spring revival after arriving on loan from Juventus FC in January.

Last updated: 03/07/04 20.33CET

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