Manchester City FC have announced the signing of two veteran players - the 39-year-old goalkeeper David Seaman from Arsenal FC and 33-year-old defender Michael Tarnat from FC Bayern München.
Out of contract
England international Seaman arrives on a one-year deal to replace another veteran, the Dane Peter Schmeichel, who retired at the end of last season at the same age. Seaman, who was out of contract at Highbury, had been expected to stay in London and become Arsenal's goalkeeping coach as well as continuing to play. Tarnat has also signed a one-year contract.
"I have given this move an enormous amount of thought and I honestly believe that the time is right for me to move on to a new challenge," Seaman told Arsenal's official website. "I want at least one more season of guaranteed first team football in the Premiership and honestly feel I am as fit as I have ever been."
Seaman had been warned by manager Arsène Wenger that he could not be assured of a first-team place and has therefore decided to move north to Manchester. The club, who finished ninth in the Premiership last season, are preparing to play in Europe for the first time since 1979 after England topped the UEFA Fair Play rankings for 2002/03. Kevin Keegan's team were put forward by the Football Association as its candidates for the UEFA Fair Play scheme last month.
City chairman John Wardle believes that Seaman's experience will play a vital role next season."I am over the moon that David has signed for City," he said. "With his vast experience he could not be a better replacement in goal for Manchester City following Peter Schmeichel's retirement at the end of last season.
We are all looking forward to working with David as he is one of football's true professionals."
After playing in two UEFA European Championships and two FIFA World Cups, Seaman's international career was put in doubt recently when he was left out of the England squad for two friendlies and next week's UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifier against Slovakia. He will doubtless hope that a move to City may persuade England coach Sven-Göran Eriksson to recall him, although West Ham United FC goalkeeper David James has now made a claim for the No1 jersey.
Seaman won almost every honour at Highbury, including FA Premiership and FA Cup doubles in both the 1997/98 and 2001/02 seasons. Seaman was also part of the Arsenal sides, which lifted the league championship in 1990/91, the FA Cup in 1993 and 2003 and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1994 when the Gunners defeated Parma AC of Italy 1-0 in Copenhagen. He joined Arsenal from Queen's Park Rangers FC in 1990.
German international Tarnat has been a valuable squad player at Bayern München since 1997, and was in the side that lost the 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United FC. "We are delighted to have signed Michael," chairman Wardle said. "He has an excellent record, with Champions League experience, and will do well for the club. Kevin was keen to sign this player because he has some excellent qualities and experience in European football."
Tarnat, who has 19 international caps, said: "I am looking forward to playing at Manchester City under Kevin Keegan. They have great support." The left-sided player has won many honours in his career, including the European/South American Cup, four Bundesliga titles, two German Cups and the 2001 Champions League.
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