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Patrick Vieira has completed his 20 million euros (£13.8m) transfer from Arsenal to Italian champions Juventus after agreeing personal terms and passing a medical.

The 29-year-old Frenchman has signed a five-year contract with Juventus and returns to Serie A where he played briefly for Milan before joining Arsenal in 1995.

Reports in Italy suggest Juventus will pay an initial instalment of £6.88m, with payments of £3.44m to follow in July 2006 and July 2007.

Ironically, Juventus coach Fabio Capello is the man who signed Vieira for Milan as a teenager from Cannes in the mid-1990s.

“Vieira is a very important player,” said Capello.

“At the heart of midfield, his presence is felt not only for his technical value but for his physical quality.

“Vieira brings something extra that new signings have to bring.”

However, Vieira only made two league appearances under Capello at San Siro. “He was young and his path was blocked by [Marcel] Desailly and [Demetrio] Albertini back then,” Capello said.

“But you could already see that he had quality, otherwise I wouldn’t have considered him as [Frank] Rijkaard’s heir.”

Arsene Wenger, who made Vieira his first signing for Arsenal, said: “I share the sadness with our supporters that Patrick has left us.

“But on the other hand I would say to them ‘trust us and support us’. The sad thing is he leaves us, but the good thing is that he leaves us on a high.

“Patrick was a great player for us, one of the greatest in the club’s history and I feel I had a special relationship with him because I made him come here.

“I think his impact, not only at Arsenal but in English football overall, was just tremendous.”

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