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Sunday, 28 July, 2002, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Silva joins Arsenal
Gilberto Silva challenges Germany's Bernd Schneider
Gilberto Silva (l) moves in to challenge
Arsenal's signing of Brazilian World Cup winner Gilberto Silva from Atletico Mineiro has finally been completed.

The 25-year-old midfielder had joined the Gunners on a long-term contract for a reported fee of 4.5m.

However, the transfer was held up because a transfer embargo had been placed on Mineiro.

This has now been cleared after the Brazilian club payed two former players the wages that they were owed.

Silva played in every single minute of Brazil's seven matches during their triumphant World Cup campaign in Korea and Japan this summer.

Silva is a naturally gifted, world-class player
Arsene Wenger

"I am delighted to be joining Arsenal," said Silva.

"They are the champions of England and have a squad full of world-class international footballers.

"I am really looking forward to living to London and playing for one of the best teams in Europe."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was equally pleased that Silva had opted for a move to Highbury.

Silva joins French defender Pascal Cygan and Uruguay keeper Fabian Carini as Arsenal's summer signings.

And the Arsenal boss reckons his squad is still better than rivals Manchester United, despite the Old Trafford club breaking the bank to land 30m signing Rio Ferdinand.

"I am delighted Gilberto Silva has joined us," said Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

"He is a naturally gifted, world-class player who has proved by his performances in Japan during the summer that he is a winner.

"He will give us extra quality and his competitiveness in midfield will provide us with a good balance and added strength."

"We need to defend our title successfully this season, the same way they did," Wenger added in the News of the World newspaper.

French defender Pascal Cygan
Cygan brought in to bolster Arsenal's defence

"We had the best team last season - I am convinced we have made that team even better. I am convinced we will win the Premiership again.

"Last season we had players like Lee Dixon and Tony Adams coming to the end of their careers. Yet overall we still had the stronger squad.

"That squad is even more powerful now."

Silva will now join up with his new team-mates at the club's pre-season training camp in Austria.

Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro confirmed tonight that a judge has officially cleared the way for Brazilian World Cup winner Gilberto Silva to move to English champions Arsenal for #4.5million. Atletico Mineiro press officer Domenico Bhereng said the issue of debts to former players Valdir and Fabio Augusto had been solved and the transfer would effectively lift the club out of debt. "The justice has allowed this to go ahead because Atletico Mineiro have made a commitment that part of this money will be used to pay the old debt," Bhereng told PA International. Bhereng confirmed that the club owed Valdir and Fabio Augusto around #200,000. The transfer had hit a snag because of an outstanding court order preventing Mineiro from selling players until the two had been the money they were owed. The order blocked the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) from transferring Gilberto Silva's papers to the Football Association in England, as would be required under international transfer rules. Atletico Mineiro then appealed to be allowed to sell the midfielder in order to clear the debts in one fell swoop, and judge Caio Luis Vieira agreed to permit the move. "The justice authorised the Brazilian Federation to make the transfer because they are the ones that send the papers; the transfer is made through the federations," said Bhereng. PA International end

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