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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 1, 2006

Baptista sets sights high on Arsenal move

Julio Baptista insists he is not at Arsenal just to make up the numbers.

The 24-year-old has joined the Gunners from Real Madrid in a transfer deadline day deal which took winger Jose Antonio Reyes in the opposite direction.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has kept a close watch on the versatile Brazilian, who is able to play either as a striker or in an advanced midfield role.

Indeed, the Gunners tried to sign him a year ago, when the player opted for Real instead.

But Baptista has no intentions of being a bit-part player at the Emirates Stadium.

'It is my hope that I can win a title with Arsenal this season,' the Brazil international declared.

'Arsenal is one of the best clubs in Europe.

'I am very happy to be given the opportunity to come here, where I know the manager a little.'

Baptista has been named in the Brazil squad which will take on South American rivals Argentina at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The Brazilian feels he will have no trouble settling into life with the Gunners.

He said: 'I know nearly all the players here.

'I know Gilberto the most from the Brazilian national team and I also know Thierry [Henry] and [Cesc] Fabregas.

'In fact, I could probably name all the players.'

Arsenal were busy over the final few hours of the transfer window, with Ashley Cole and Pascal Cygan also departing.

William Gallas arrived as part of the deal which took England left-back Cole to Chelsea.

The veteran France defender is looking forward to a fresh challenge.

He said to the club's official website: 'Arsenal has a great history and sense of tradition and, combined with the fantastic facilities, offers me a great move.

'It is a chance to build on my career and enjoy what will hopefully be further successes.'

Wenger, meanwhile, expressed his relief the protracted saga was finally over and claimed the club could now focus on the future without any more distractions.

The Arsenal boss also paid tribute to Cole, who had come up through the Highbury ranks.

'Ashley is a player who has given a lot for us over a number of years,' said Wenger.

'I would like to thank him on behalf of the team and everyone connected with the club for his contribution to our success over recent years.

'Ashley has always played with his heart for Arsenal.'

Wenger added: 'I remember giving him his debut nearly seven years ago and he grabbed the opportunity.

'He had a strong desire to succeed and ultimately it was that determination that sees him leave this club.

'Ashley has grown up with Arsenal and, given time, will hopefully appreciate what the club has given him.'