Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Baptista fails to impress at Arsenal

Baptista at Arsenal
If Julio Baptista does not adapt to football in the Premiership, he could find himself on the plan back to Madrid in five months' time. By extension, this could mean that José Antonio Reyes, who could not wait to leave London to get back to Spain, may find himself in the unenviable situation of having to eat his words and go back to Highbury.

An unlikely turn of events, perhaps, but Baptista has made just nine appearances for Arsenal after a hamstring problem and has found it tough to adapt to English football. He was recently given a run-out against Sheffield United and proceeded to pick up an ankle injury as the Gunners went down 1-0, their first loss to this side in the league for 33 years. Just before the game, Wenger alluded in typical cryptic fashion to Baptista's need to prove himself: "He has a great attitude and is very strong mentally. I like him as a player but he has not yet had the opportunities to show how good he is. He has a lot to prove in the next few months." Wenger admitted he is close to making his mind up. "I am leaning more one way than the other. But I will not say which way."

Baptista himself recently said he does not think he would have much chance in Capello's Real: I can imagine myself playing at Arsenal for several seasons," said Baptista. "Real is a very different team to the one I left. I don't know if my exit had anything to do with Fabio Capello, but he would have to change his system if I was to play in his team."

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