Wenger believes in the Beast
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Arsene Wenger says he expects Julio Baptista to be terrorising opponents soon.
Arsene Wenger says he fully expects Julio Baptista to be terrorising opponents with his 'boxer's' strength and killer instinct after he learns to adapt to the English game.
The Real Madrid star moved to Emirates Stadium on transfer deadline day in a loan exchange with Jose Antonio Reyes, but his input so far in North London has been limited to the bench.
'The Beast' has stated he is looking to earn a permanent deal with The Gunners and has given inklings of his talent in his cameo appearances to date.
However Wenger, who admits he is likely to try and sign the Brazilian international on a permanent basis, believes once Baptista acclimatises to the English game he will become an unstoppable force.
"On my opinion, it [a permanent transfer] will be done," said Wenger.
"We have a delay before we have to make that decision.
"It is not only us, it is him as well. Whether he wants to stay in London or not.
"It is more adaptation to the pace of the game and the movement here - intelligence wise he has no problem, quality wise he is a big player.
"He is massive and he looks like a boxer.
"When you see his body, he does not have fat at all. He is muscular and is in the gym every day.
"He looks after himself and takes care of his body.
"Once he is on his run, nobody can stop him, with that penetrative power.
"Once he is running with the ball, you just feel this guy cannot be stopped.
"He is a killer once he is in front of goal."
Baptista's next chance to impress comes on Tuesday as Arsenal play host to Porto in the UEFA Champions League, a match that comes in a week when Wenger celebrates ten years in charge of the North London side.
Despite his prolonged success on the domestic front, European glory has always proved elusive for the articulate Frenchman, and last season's UEFA Champions League final defeat to Barcelona was the first time he had led The Gunners past the last eight.
After years of underachievement in Europe's premier competition, Wenger believes even winning the title for the next three years will not assuage his quest for glory on the biggest club stage of all.
"No matter when I stop, I will always feel I have not done enough," Wenger added.
"I know I will always have that feeling - even if I won the Champions League three seasons running, I would still think it.
"It is in me, I do not know why, but it is like that."
Reflecting on the final defeat in Paris, Wenger lamented the fact that his side were just 13 minutes from triumphing before coming undone against the accomplished Catalans.
"We have analysed the final, and it was very, very close.
"You always think 'what could we have done differently?'.
"We should have won it, yes, because we had the chances to score the second goal, and also because we lacked a bit of experience in the way we conceded the goal.
"However, you cannot say it was a big failure on the day, that the team did not turn up.
"We gave absolutely everything, were a bit unlucky and a bit lacking in experience."
The Gunners were unlikely finalists last term as a poor league campaign seemed to herald a season of transition, and Wenger is acutely aware his young charges will not have the element of surprise at their disposal this time around.
"The fact we believe we can go into the final again is compensated by the fact that we will not surprise Real Madrid or Barcelona tomorrow if we played them.
"They would expect a different game, for us to be strong.
"But on the other hand, we would be stronger and believe more we can do it.
"Certainly Porto will be more cautious than if they had played us a year ago."