Wenger confident Baptista will shine

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The Independent Online

The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, is confident that it will not be long before his club see the best of their Brazilian midfielder Julio Baptista.

The 25-year-old, nicknamed "The Beast", was rested for last night's Premiership trip to Fulham, having only just returned from a lay-off with a hamstring problem. The powerfully-built attacking midfielder has so far started just once in the League following his deadline-day loan move from Real Madrid, and finally opened his goalscoring account against Hamburg in the Champions' League earlier this month.

Wenger, however, feels Baptista still needs time to "adapt" to his new surroundings but said the player can "make a big impact" for Arsenal.

"There is no basic problem with him," Wenger said. "He has just got to adapt to the pace of the game. He has just come back from six weeks out with injury and I feel he needs to work, maybe he will play on Saturday [against Tottenham Hotspur].

"We have seen that before with players who came here," Wenger said, "it always took them six months to adapt. I am confident he will make a big impact here."

Wenger reiterated his intention not to make any further additions to the Arsenal playing staff when the transfer window reopens on 1 January. "For me, we have a very good squad and we can play at the top of the league," he said. "It is just how much we can keep going.

"We just have to keep playing like we do, and not worry too much about the rest. Overall I feel the team has improved quality-wise, but just cannot transform that into results at the moment - however, it will come.

"I want these players to perform and this team to perform at their full potential. I think it is in there and it is down to me and to them to get it out."

Elsewhere, the former Portsmouth target Lee Chun-Soo has been given the go-ahead by his South Korean club to return to Europe when the transfer window opens in January.

The 25-year-old winger, who scored against Togo at the World Cup this summer, is thought to be interested in a move away from the K-League.

Lee was linked with Pompey earlier in the year but opted against a transfer, instead choosing to finish the season with Ulsan, who reached the semi-finals of the AFC Champions' League and narrowly missed out on the K-League Championship play-off.

However, with the Korean season over the Tigers are resigned to losing him and are expecting offers from England - with Portsmouth likely to resurrect their interest in the player - as well as elsewhere in Europe.

"Lee Chun-Soo has always had a strong desire to play overseas, so realistically, it's hard to keep him," a club spokesman said. "Of course, his departure will weaken our attack but we will soon have [attacking midfielder] Chung Kyung-Ho back from military service."

Lee has made almost 70 appearances for his country and is a veteran of two World Cups. His displays at the 2002 competition earned him a move to Real Sociedad but he proved disappointing in San Sebastian and in his subsequent loan spell at Numancia.

Lee returned to Korea in 2005 and was named the K-League's best player last December after helping his side claim the league title. He was selected as one of three over-age players by South Korea coach Pim Verbeek for the Asian Games in Doha and scored during their 3-0 victory against Bangladesh in their opening game on Tuesday.

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