Real Madrid CF have tonight confirmed deals to sign Chelsea FC winger Arjen Robben and Manchester United FC defender Gabriel Heinze.
Dutch international Robben has long been linked with a switch to Madrid, especially after new manager Bernd Schuster signed fellow Oranje starlets Royston Drenthe and Wesley Sneijder to team up with last season’s scoring sensation Ruud van Nistelrooy. The 23-year-old has yet to agree personal terms and pass a medical but the two clubs both stated they had reached agreement over the transfer.
Robben, a FC Groningen product, spent three seasons at Chelsea after joining from PSV Eindhoven but had a limited campaign last time out, playing just 21 league games. Robben and Heinze will hope to complete the formalities of their moves before Madrid's first match as defending champions when city rivals Club Atlético de Madrid come calling on Saturday. On a busy day, Madrid agreed to sell right-back Cicinho to AS Roma.
The 29-year-old Argentina left-back Heinze had originally hoped to leave United for Liverpool FC only to be blocked by a Premier League tribunal, which agreed with United that a clause in the player's contract prevented such a switch. Madrid stepped in and agreed a reported €12m transfer with Heinze to sign a four-year contract, making him the third new defender to arrive at the Santiago Bernabéu before the new Primera División campaign along with Pepe and Christoph Metzelder.
Heinze, who spent three seasons at Old Trafford, began his European career in Spain with Real Valladolid CF ten years ago and went on to play for Sporting Clube de Portugal and Paris Saint-Germain FC before his switch to Old Trafford. In 2006/07, Heinze lost his regular starting place to France defender Patrice Evra and made only 22 league appearances as the club reclaimed the title.
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