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Wenger still waiting on Baptista

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27 July 2005 | ©

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger still rates his chances of signing Sevilla striker Julio Baptista as "50-50".

The Gunners were close to agreeing a fee for Brazilian international on Monday, but question marks remained over the 23-year-old's desire to move to Highbury.

Baptista wants a Spanish passport and completes the two-year residency requirement to apply for one next month, but a successful application could take a further 12 months.

With Real Madrid making a £23million offer for Baptista, who can operate as a striker or midfielder, Wenger's chances of getting his man are fading fast.

The Frenchman remains hopeful that a deal can be struck, but admits the situation is confusing.

"It is 50-50 still at the moment. We have no big problem with the club. But the player has not quite made up his mind because of many, many problems," Wenger told the club's official website.

"One of the main ones is the passport. When they stay in Spain they can get a passport. If he is still in Spain he can complete the three years [needed]. It is a very confusing situation."

Baptista, however, told Radio Marca: "There are a lot of factors against Arsenal. I would have to leave Spain and adapt to another league in a year in which there is a World Cup that I believe I have serious options of playing in."

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