Bayern to sign Van Bommel as Ballack replacement

August 26, 2006

BERLIN, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich have agreed a deal to sign midfielder Mark van Bommel from Barcelona, subject to a medical.

Team manager Uli Hoeness said on Saturday the Dutch international would sign a three-year contract with the Bundesliga champions, but added that the impending arrival would not give wantaway Owen Hargreaves the green light to leave.

'We're in agreement with Barcelona,' Hoeness told Arena TV before Bayern's Bundesliga match against Nuremberg. 'Van Bommel is coming next week.

'If he comes through the medical with no problems he'll sign a three-year contract.'

Bayern said on their Web site the two clubs had agreed to keep the cost of the transfer confidential.

Bayern have long had an eye on the 29-year-old Van Bommel as a replacement for Michael Ballack, who left at the end of last season on a free transfer to Chelsea.

'We'll be able to use him well,' coach Felix Magath said.

Hargreaves is eager to become the second Bayern midfielder to move to England. Manchester United are keen to sign the England international, who enhanced his reputation at the World Cup.

Hoeness, though, remains adamant that Hargreaves will not be allowed to leave.

'We want to be stronger still with Van Bommel and Hargreaves,' Hoeness said.

'He's not leaving. When the transfer window closes (on August 31) the whole episode will be over, you can bet your bottom dollar.'

Hargreaves reiterated his desire to leave Bayern in an interview with German newspaper Bild this week.

He was again left out of the side for Saturday's goalless draw against Nuremberg, the third successive match he has missed.