Gremio Offer Escape Route for Out-of-Favour Arsenal Star

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By Vishnuprasad S | February 10, 2013 12:05 AM EST

Brazilian club Gremio have confirmed they are holding talks with Arsenal to sign the club's out-of-favour wing-back Andre Santos.

The 29-year-old has struggled to establish himself in the Premier League since joining the Gunners from Turkish outfit Fenerbahce in 2011 and his performances have been severely criticised. Arsene Wenger strengthened his side's options at left-back on deadline day of the January transfer window, signing Spain international Nacho Monreal from Malaga.

Santos was linked with a switch to Galatasaray last month but the transfer failed to materialise. The player is now wanted on loan at Gremio and club president Fabio Koff has stated they are trying to push through the deal before the Libertadores transfer deadline, which falls on Sunday 10 February.

"Andre Santos depends on being released by his club. It's a negotiation that advanced, then moved backwards. Let's say we are interested and we had this well underway in advance. If the Libertadores deadline comes, we will not be interested anymore. But now the time to register players is finishing, we have set a deadline to close the deal. Let's wait," Sky Sports quoted Koff as saying.

However, Arsenal might hold on to Santos if they plan to field him for their Champions League last-16 first leg match against Bayern Munich on 19 February. Wenger has limited options at left-back for that clash, with Kieran Gibbs ruled out, Monreal ineligible and Thomas Vermaelen struggling to overcome an ankle injury.

Wenger Calls for Blood Tests

Meanwhile, Wenger has stated he would like to see footballers have their blood tested for banned substances after matches.

Currently players are required to provide urine samples for doping tests but the French tactician feels blood samples would be better to help catch cheats.

"When you have a doping control at UEFA, they do not take blood, they take only urine. I have asked many times in Geneva [for that to be changed]. Sometimes you have to wait for two hours after the game, so blood could be a lot quicker. We could go much deeper into control," Wenger told BBC.

"UEFA is ready to do it, but it poses some ethical problems because everyone has to accept that they will check the blood and not everybody is ready to do that," the manager added.

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