Wenger nears Baptista decision
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Arsene Wenger is leaning towards a decision on Julio Baptista's future at Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger admits he is leaning towards a decision on Julio Baptista's long-term future at Arsenal.
Baptista is on a season-long loan from Real Madrid after Jose Antonio Reyes headed in the opposite direction, and there is an option for a permanent deal.
But the Brazilian has started just two games for The Gunners and concedes he is still trying to adapt to the pace of Premiership football.
He will start Saturday's game at Sheffield United, live on Sky Sports 1, with Wenger admitting the attacker has a lot to prove.
Wenger accepts Baptista has had limited opportunities to showcase his talents, but will not be drawn on whether he will keep him at Emirates Stadium.
"He will start the game and I think he is ready to play," said Wenger. "In the next six months he has a lot to prove.
"I am leaning more one way than the other about whether to sign him, but I will not say which way.
"He doesn't get many chances because there is big competition going on with Rosicky, Hleb, Fabregas, Henry, Adebayor and Van Persie, who are all offensive players.
"The problem has been to give him the number of opportunities he deserves. I like him as a player, but I agree he hasn't had the opportunities to show how good he is."