Midfielder Rosicky joins Arsenal

Tomas Rosicky, photo: CTK
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It is official and without a doubt the biggest Czech transfer this season: Borussia Dortmund midfielder Tomas Rosicky to Arsenal in the English Premiership. The transfer fee - not officially disclosed has been put at 8 million British pounds - the equivalent of 15 million US dollars.

Tomas Rosicky, photo: CTK
For Tomas Rosicky - one of the Czech Republic's most talented players whose fortunes have somewhat flagged in the German league of late - joining Arsenal represents a major move up: a chance to play for one of the world's best teams on a four year contract. Rosicky has welcomed the chance to play alongside world-class players like striker Thierry Henry, who he called the "best in the world". But, he has also made clear that he is aware of the pressure he will face. Having joined one of England's best clubs, he will still have to earn a permanent spot in the line-up:

"Of course I'm aware of this point, and that will be the biggest difference [with Borussia]: now I've joined a top club. The situation is different and there will be a lot of competition to make the roster. On the other hand, what better team than Arsenal to make me a better player?"

Tomas Rosicky, photo: CTK
Already, Rosicky - a former Czech player of the year - is considered one of the Czech Republic's most talented midfielders - a swift and guileful playmaker who can add spark at crucial moments that decide key matches. By turns he has shined: at Sparta Prague, at Borussia, and for the national squad, where he has scored 15 goals in 53 caps. In the absence of Pavel Nedved during the World Cup qualifiers he took on greater responsibility at the heart of the Czech midfield.

But, after five years at Borussia - a club strapped by financial difficulties - it was clear the player's career needed to change gears. Former Czech international Antonin Panenka:

"It's very good news for the player and he can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that his future is secure: now he can concentrate fully on the World Cup. As far as the English league is concerned I don't think Tomas should have any trouble: he makes himself essential and knows how to create situations. Of course, the English league is more aggressive than the Bundesliga but I don't think it'll be a problem. I think he'll adapt."

The Arsenal signing comes just two weeks ahead of the World Cup - the first for players like Rosicky: he was only nine years old the last time Czechs competed, way back in 1990. Along with Pavel Nedved, Karel Poborsky, and Petr Cech, the midfielder should be a major asset next month - and if things go the Czechs' way, Arsenal may be relieved that they acquired the player before - and not after - the tournament: if Rosicky ends up shining there his value can only increase.