Brazilian midfielder Gilberto Silva has given Arsenal a boost by signing a long-term contract extension.

Having lost Patrick Vieira and Edu in the summer, Arsene Wenger is increasingly reliant on the experienced Brazilian, who joined the club from Atletico Mineiro in July 2002.

Wenger has acknowledged Gilberto’s contribution by extending his contract until the summer of 2009.

A statement on Arsenal’s website read: “Arsenal is delighted to announce that Gilberto has signed a long term extension to his contract with the club until 2009.

“Everyone at Arsenal is looking forward to enjoying Gilberto’s continued contribution in the forthcoming seasons.”