Gunners move for Baptista
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Arsenal are believed to have jumped to the head of the queue for Sevilla striker Julio Baptista.
The Gunners are hoping to beat Premiership rivals Manchester United to the Brazilian's signature after he revealed he was looking to move to England.
Baptista seems set to leave Sevilla this summer after turning down a new deal with the Spanish club.
The South American ace has established himself as one of the best strikers in Spain after netting 50 goals in two seasons with Sevilla and his performances have attracted the interest of a host of clubs.
Arsenal are now hoping to steal a march on Baptista's other suitors by luring him to Highbury.
Reports emanating from Spain have claimed that Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein has flown to Seville to negotiate a deal for Baptista.
Dein is believed to have held talks with Baptista's agent Juan Figer and Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido about a possible move, with reports suggesting a deal could be done in a matter of days.
Arsenal could face competition for Baptista's signature, with del Nido revealing a Spanish club have made an offer for the Brazilian.
"Up to now, we have only received an offer for Baptista from a Spanish team and it is not Barcelona," said del Nido.
"We have offered him several times the revision of an improved contract, but he has rejected them."
Meanwhile, Arsenal star Robin van Persie looks set to miss the club's pre-season trip to Holland for the Amsterdam Tournament.
Arsenal have decided to leave van Persie out of the squad for the four team tournament later this month, as he continues to fight to clear his name over an alleged incident of rape.