Wenger in Brazil with £10 million Baptista

By Myles Palmer


DAVID DEIN stopped off in Barcelona to talk about a youth player Arsene is interested in.

Then Dein went to Seville to talk about Julio Baptista, their 23-year old Brazilian striker.

Baptista has a chunky physique and can give the attack the physical presence it has lacked since Hartson and Wright were sold.

He can make runs onto balls over the top.

And he can pick up the ball 40 yards out and accelerate and beat his marker and shoot hard.

With better players around him in a team that is winning every week, with prompting from Fabregas, Pires, Vieira and Henry, Baptista should be in heaven.

If he settles quickly, he can improve by 20% in six months.

ARSENE WENGER is in Brazil tonight.

We assume Arsene is meeting Julio, his agent, his parents perhaps.

The manager was commentating for German TV on the Confederations Cup, where Baptista started in the 2-2 game against Japan and came on as a sub in other games, usually for Adriano.

Baptista to Arsenal could be a done deal by next week.

The clubs have done business before, with Reyes.

THE GOALSCORERS IN LA LIGA are mostly South Americans.

1. Diego Forlán (Uruguay) Villarreal 25

2. Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon) Barcelona 24

3. Ricardo Oliveira (Brazil) Real Betis 23

4. Ronaldo (Brazil) Real Madrid 21

5. Julio Baptista (Brazil) Seville 18

6. Fernando Torres (Spain) Atlético de Madrid 16

7. Juan R. Riquelme (Argentina) Villarreal 15

Maxi Rodríguez (Argentina) Espanyol 15

David Villa (Spain) Real Zaragoza 15

10. Michael Owen (England) Real Madrid 13


SEVILLE finished sixth and now Baptista wants to move on to a bigger stage.

Unusually, he played for Sao Paolo from 2000 to 2003 as a holding midfielder.

Seville signed him for 2.75 million euros.

He scored 20 goals in his first season – 2003 / 2004 – and has been a marked man ever since.

Fenerbhace want Gilberto Silva.

July 2nd 2005.