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Santos: I still have a future at Arsenal

Andre Santos claims his loan move to Gremio is not the end of his Arsenal career, with the defender convinced he will return to North London in the summer a better player.

• Blog: Arsenal's patchwork defence

The Brazilian full-back arrived at Arsenal in 2011 with a lofty reputation, but he failed to nail down a regular first-team place and came in for criticism from many Gunners fans.

Arguably the low point came when Santos swapped shirts with former Gunner Robin van Persie at half-time of Arsenal's defeat to Manchester United and he has admitted he has work to do to build bridges.

"The relationship was very good until the incident with Van Persie," Santos told the Evening Standard. "I have apologised and moved on. I have all my respect to the fans of Arsenal."

Santos felt he had to move on following the January arrival of Nacho Monreal but believes he still has a big role to play for Arsenal.

"The idea is to go there, play well and be able to come back strong," Santos said. "Do I have a future at the club? For sure. This is a loan deal and after this season we will see where everything stands.

"I always wanted to stay here until the end of my contract. This is a club where I feel comfortable and honoured to play. However, when the club acquired another left-back it was clear to me that I will not play. I need to play, get my confidence back and Gremio is a good platform for this."

Another Brazilian, midfielder Denilson, left Arsenal to return to his homeland on loan with Santos back in 2011, a deal which was renewed for another season last summer.

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