Baptista eager for Gunners stay
By Alex Dunn. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Julio Baptista has claimed he is ready to extend his stay at Arsenal despite having not yet made his bow in red and white.
The Brazilian tasted life at The Emirates Stadium for the first time on Sunday when he came off the bench to play the last 18 minutes of Brazil's victory over South American neighbours Argentina in a prestigious friendly.
Baptista was granted a warm reception from those in attendance and he is now looking forward to a similar experience when he makes his Premiership bow.
The versatile performer, who can operate in both midfield and attack, has joined Arsenal on-loan for the remainder of the season in a deal that saw Jose Antonio Reyes head in the opposite direction, and it is with enthusiasm that he looks to settle in at his new club.
"I am very humbled that Arsene Wenger is so interested in me. I would be very happy to stay here," Baptista said.
"I was very happy to be so welcomed in my home ground. I hope to get as big a welcome in the league.
"I am very confident I can be a big addition for the team. It's a traditional club which is very well known.
"They reached the Champions League final last season and I hope this year we can continue and reach the Champions League final again."
Brazil coach Dunga shares his player's confidence that it will prove to be a productive switch, backing Baptista to quickly establish himself in North London.
"Technically, he brings the quality of a Brazilian player but he also brings his personality - he is very strong, very strong-willed - he is a winner," Dunga said.
"Also, he can play in three different positions - he can defend, he can attack and he can score goals and this is very important."