10 recent Dutch players to have signed for Barcelona
7. Marc Overmars (from Arsenal, €25 million)
Overmars is widely regarded as one of Arsenal's best players ever. He spent the prime of his career in North London, racking up 25 goals across 100 league appearances. He was then hotly pursued by Lazio and Barcelona, and the player chose the latter, calling it "an honour to play for the club". He joined in the 2000-'01 season for €25 million, becoming the most expensive Dutch player of his time. Interestingly, Overmars' debut came against Arsenal itself, in a non-competitive fixture.
Barcelona was going through a transitional phase at that time, to put it modestly, as managers changed one after the other, affecting player performances too. But by the end of the season, Overmars began to be regarded as one of Barca's most influential players. The Catalans eventually finished fourth in La Liga, as they did next season as well.
The new manager Carles Rexach was more interested in playing Xavi and new signing Javier Saviola in the first XI, Overmars hence donning a new role of "super-sub", making huge impacts by coming off the bench. Barca's lean phase continued until mid '03-'04, and Overmars continued to make some positive impact with his presence, but being plagued by recurring injuries did not help and he retired altogether by the end of the season. Overall, he scored 15 goals in 97 league appearances for the Blaugranas.Published 26 Jan 2019, 10:20 IST