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Last Updated: Friday, 15 July, 2005, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Arsenal fail in new Baptista bid
Julio Baptista
He has a contract with Sevilla but the new one they are offering is not satisfactory
Baptista's agent Herminio Menendez
Arsenal have had a new bid of 13.75m for Sevilla's Julio Baptista turned down, according to the Spanish club.

Sevilla say the Gunners have previously had three verbal offers rejected for the 23-year-old striker, although Arsenal have made no official comment.

Now though they have offered 20m euros - exactly the amount Juventus have agreed to pay them for Patrick Vieira.

But Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido said: "We haven't reached an agreement with Arsenal."

Del Nido said the new offer was 20m euros and admitted that was "much higher" than Arsenal's previous bids.

But he added: "The figures are still not close to what we are asking for.

"We are in no hurry. The player is under contract and if we don't agree a deal, then he will play at Sevilla next season."

Baptista, a Brazil international, wants to stay in Spain for one more year so he can qualify for new nationality and gain a European passport, which would mean he could play anywhere on the continent.

That means Arsenal are at a disadvantage compared to Real Madrid or Barcelona, who Baptista could play for and remain a Spanish resident.

However, Del Nido said neither Barca nor Real had made an offer.

That contradicts what his agent, Herminio Menendez, said last week.

"We have had dealings with Barca over Baptista," Menendez told COM Radio in Spain.

"He has a contract with Sevilla at the moment but the new one they are offering is not satisfactory for us."

Baptista joined Sevilla from Sao Paulo in July 2003 for $2.8m, and signed a five-year contract.

Coach Joaquin Caparros converted him at that time from a midfielder into a forward so it is possible Gunners boss Arsene Wenger sees him as a replacement for Vieira.

Nicknamed "La Bestia" (the Beast) for his rampaging runs, he was Sevilla's leading scorer in his first season with 20 league goals from 30 appearances, and hit another 18 last term.

Baptista was part of the Brazil squad that won the Confederations Cup last month and has not begun pre-season training as he remains on holiday.

Meanwhile Del Nido said Juventus' Enzo Maresca, who was offered to Arsenal at one time as bait for Vieira, will now sign for Sevilla on a four-year deal after a fee of 3m euros was agreed.




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