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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has not given up hope of signing Sevilla striker Julio Baptista.

The Gunners have had three verbal offers and one formal £13.75m rejected.

“It is 50-50. It is down to him. He might stay where he is or go to another club in Spain,” said Wenger.

“I’m not sure he will go to another club in England but I don’t know.

“However, I feel we have the players we want. If we can add one more we will but if it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen.”

Baptista is thought to be in favour of spending one more year in Spain in order to qualify for a European passport, meaning he would then be free to move anywhere without a work permit.

Sevilla coach Juande Ramos said: “The club want him to stay, he apparently wants to stay and unless a big offer comes along, the signs are that he will stay.

“Baptista is a pivotal player for Sevilla. We all want him to stay but we are aware of the situation he is in, so we will have to wait and see

“A late transfer would be the worst case scenario for us. We wouldn’t have time to replace him – but I hope it doesn’t come to that.”

Baptista has refused top commit himself to a new deal with Sevilla, but he has denied that he is attempting to negotiate a move.

“I have never said that I wanted to leave or that I didn’t want to stay at Sevilla,” he said.

“I don’t know what is going to happen, but I am calm.

“I have come here to work and to play here a further season. In August (2006) I will get my papers in order to get Spanish nationality.

“I will no longer take up a non-European place, which is very important for me.”

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