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May 12, 2014

Leverkusen seal Josip Drmic deal

Bayer Leverkusen have announced the signing of striker Josip Drmic from Nuernberg on a five-year contract.

Josip Drmic had been linked with a move to Arsenal.
Josip Drmic had been linked with a move to Arsenal.

Drmic, 21, scored 17 goals in the Bundesliga this season but his efforts were not enough to preserve Nuernberg's top-flight status.

Their relegation, which was confirmed on Saturday, triggered a clause in the Switzerland international's contract permitting him to move for five million euros, and Leverkusen have now secured his services.

"We have laid down a clear marker for our future approach," the club's CEO, Michael Schade, said on Leverkusen's official website. "Josip Drmic has shown his extra quality over the course of the Bundesliga campaign and he is one of the top strikers in the Bundesliga. We've brought him in to significantly increase our attacking capability and equip the team to have another go at the Champions League."

Former Germany star Lothar Matthaeus had said earlier this year that Arsenal were set to sign Drmic. His club subsequently denied there had been an enquiry from the Premier League side, but Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller said there had been rival interest in the player.

"We won out against serious competition and are happy that Josip Drmic has opted to take up a long-term deal with us," Voeller said. "A player like him gives us additional options up front. He's quick, strong and can play on either wing as well as in the middle. Josip is a top player who really fits in with our ambitions."

Leverkusen finished fourth in the Bundesliga, securing a place in the playoffs for the Champions League group stage, and Drmic -- who moved from FC Zurich last year -- said he was excited about the challenge ahead after a disappointing end to his time with Nuernberg.

"It's a real shame I had to leave FCN under these circumstances," Drmic said. "I had a great time there in spite of the sorry end to the season, but now I want to play at the top of the Bundesliga and get through to the group stages of the Champions League in the playoffs in August.

"It's a dream for every football pro. Leverkusen are a great team and they convinced me over a number of meetings that I've made exactly the right decision by coming here."

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