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Van Bronckhorst loaned to Barça

UEFA Cup contenders FC Barcelona have signed Arsenal FC's Giovanni van Bronckhorst on loan for the season.

FC Barcelona have signed Arsenal FC midfield player Giovanni van Bronckhorst on loan for the 2003/04 season, subject to a medical on Wednesday morning.

Arsenal honours
The Dutch international joined Arsenal for €13.5m from Rangers FC two years ago, having left Feyenoord for Scotland in 1998. In February 2002 his season was ended prematurely by a cruciate knee ligament injury, the Gunners going on to win the Premiership and the FA Cup. Van Bronckhorst returned to action in November but made only 15 starts in the remainder of the season.

Rijkaard link-up
With Ashley Cole established as Arsenal's left-back and with few opportunities for a regular midfield place, the 28-year-old Van Bronckhorst has opted to move to Spain to play under Frank Rijkaard, who regularly deployed him during his time as coach of the Netherlands.

'Great respect'
Van Bronckhorst told Arsenal’s official website: "I have really enjoyed the last two years at Arsenal - me and my family feel very settled here. But what I need now is to play matches especially with the prospect of Holland competing in [UEFA] EURO 2004. I am really looking forward to joining up with Barcelona - I have great respect for them and the way they play and, of course, for coach Frank Rijkaard."

UEFA Cup draw
Barcelona will discover their opponents in the first round of the UEFA Cup on Friday, two days before starting their Primera División campaign against Athletic Club Bilbao.