Football: Vivas sets sights on defeating Spurs

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The Independent Online
NELSON VIVAS endeared himself to the red half of north London yesterday when he stated that he wanted nothing more than to beat Tottenham.

The 28-year-old Argentinian yesterday became Arsene Wenger's second major signing of the summer and is expected to make his debut in Sunday's Charity Shield against Manchester United at Wembley.

Yesterday, the player showed he had done his homework. "I know a lot about English football and Arsenal in particular," he said. "I have seen a lot of Premier League games back home in Argentina and I know that the derby games against Tottenham are very important. All I can say is that I want to win the first game against them, and the second and the third."

Vivas, signed for an undisclosed fee from Boca Juniors after a loan spell at the Swiss club, Lugano, played in four of Argentina's five World Cup games and was in the side that beat Brazil 1-0 in the Maracana Stadium. "It was our first victory there in 41 years so it was obviously very important but it was only a friendly," he said.

Vivas, who will be stepping into a defence which has been relatively unchanged for a decade, said his main concern was maintaining the Gunners' momentum. "They won the Double last year, and I want to keep the club at that level, otherwise the fans may put it down to me. I had many offers after the World Cup but I decided from the first moment that I didn't want to turn down the opportunity of playing for Arsenal. It is an enormous privilege to play in England, and I will be very proud to play in one of the most important football places in the world," he said.

There was unsettling news for Arsenal yesterday with reports that the head of the Japanese Football Association's technical committee has flown to England to begin negotiations with Wenger to take over as the national coach. Wenger enjoyed his spell with Grampus Eight and is known to favour a return to Japan at some point.

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