Soccer

Wolfsburg signs Luiz Gustavo from Bayern Munich

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WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP)

Wolfsburg signed Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo from Bundesliga rival Bayern Munich on Friday.

The 26-year-old Luiz Gustavo signed a deal through to 2018, the Volkswagen-backed club announced.

''There is no question that he makes us better,'' Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking said. ''We want to move back toward Europe with Wolfsburg, and for this we need players like Luiz Gustavo.''

Both clubs agreed not to disclose the transfer fee. German media reported that Wolfsburg was paying between 15 and 20 million euros ($20 and $27 million) for the Brazilian.

''I have professional and personal reasons to want to go away,'' Luiz Gustavo said before Brazil's 1-0 defeat in Switzerland on Wednesday. The player faced a struggle for regular playing time at Bayern, which has further reinforced its star-studded midfield under new coach Pep Guardiola.

He reportedly was also a target for clubs in England, Italy and Russia.

''Wolfsburg wanted me from the beginning. That's one of the reasons I'm here,'' Luiz Gustavo said at his presentation.

''I am very happy to have made this decision and to be here now. It's like a new life for me and I'll give everything for Wolfsburg,'' the Brazilian said. ''I'm really looking forward to the challenge. Wolfsburg is a top club with a great concept and I'm also happy to be able to stay in Germany. I feel very comfortable here.''

Wolfsburg won the Bundesliga title in 2009 but has since struggled to recreate that form. Last season, it finished 11th in the 18-team top division.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge thanked Luiz Gustavo for his two and a half years at the club.

''He won many friends in our club with his calm, always friendly and very professional manner. You could always rely on Luiz Gustavo and he played his part in Bayern's treble last season,'' Rummenigge said.

Luiz Gustavo joined Hoffenheim from Clube de Regatas Brasil in 2007, and Bayern paid 17 million euros ($23 million) for the Brazilian in January 2011. He scored six goals and set up three more in 64 league games for the side.

Luiz Gustavo joins up with compatriots Diego and Naldo at Wolfsburg, and could make his debut against Schalke on Saturday.

''I can imagine that he'll be in the starting line-up. He's in the squad in any case,'' Hecking said.

Luiz Gustavo has played 11 games for Brazil.

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