Seville fans' jeers give new life to Arsenal bid for Baptista

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The Independent Football

The 23-year-old, who is Seville's top goalscorer, was the target of a bid by Arsenal which was rejected. Now the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, believes it is 50-50 whether Baptista, who is also being courted by Barcelona, will eventually move to Arsenal, but it looks certain he will not be staying at the Spanish club.

The Arsenal vice-chairman, David Dein, is monitoring the situation but will move for another target should Baptista opt to stay in Spain.

Baptista was riled after he was booed and whistled at by a section of the 2,000 crowd as Seville beat a local side, Pilas, 5-1 in a game in which he scored two goals.

He said afterwards: "Those who are whistling me now don't even know why they are doing so. I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I've already done that in the league for the past two seasons.

"There are various clubs interested in me, but the last word is mine. I and my agents will make the decision."

There have been suggestions that Baptista will get dual nationality if he stays a third year in Spain and he believes the papers will arrive in August. That would allow him to move elsewhere in the EU.

Wenger has stated his intention to keep Robert Pires at Highbury despite the French midfielder's request for an improved contract after Patrick Vieira's transfer to Juventus.

Wenger said: "I can understand that he wants an improved contract, but it has nothing to do with Patrick leaving. Robert has always been very important to us but he does not play in the same position as Patrick."

Wenger also confirmed his interest in the 16-year-old Monaco defender Armand Traore.