Arsenal ready to sell Andre Santos in January window

Arsene Wenger has grown fed up with the performances and attitude of the left-back, who is set to be dropped from starting XI at Schalke on Tuesday after his Saturday horror show
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal are ready to sell Andre Santos in January after growing fed up with his performances and attitude, has learned.

The defender, who is facing the axe from the starting XI for the Champions League match at Schalke on Tuesday night, is likely to be offloaded to Turkey or his native Brazil if Arsene Wenger can find a replacement in the forthcoming window.

Despite his measured public comments, the Arsenal manager is said to be privately "livid" with Santos for bizarrely requesting and then taking the shirt of former team-mate Robin van Persie as the players walked off at half-time of Saturday's Premier League defeat at Manchester United.

But the Gunners boss' frustration with the 29-year-old predates the events at Old Trafford, which prompted stinging criticism from Arsenal supporters and neutral observers alike.

The Frenchman has been unimpressed with Santos' lack of concentration and focus in both training sessions and matches.

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The club have tried and largely failed in attempts to get the left-back to change his eating habits after drawing up a strict programme featuring less of Santos' favourite red meat in a bid to shed up to seven kilos from his stocky frame.

Moreover, Wenger felt that Santos had damaged Arsenal's reputation when he was given a 12-month driving ban in September for speeding at up to 145 miles per hour in a 70mph zone while being pursued by police in his Maserati supercar.

The full-back has issued a public apology to supporters for taking Van Persie's shirt at half-time and Wenger insisted at his press conference in Gelsenkirchen on Monday night that it was not evidence of a lack of commitment to the team from the player.

Santos, himself, speaking to last week, insisted he was settled at the club despite reports linking him with a return to Turkey.

"This is not true," he said. "I do not want to leave Arsenal since I am happy here, my family is happy as well in London. I also like the country very much and I hope to fulfill my contract here."

However, Arsenal will now listen to offers for the Brazil international, although they will not expect to recoup the £6.2 million that they paid Fenerbahce to sign him in the last hours of the 2011 summer window.

Santos has started Arsenal's last four matches after first-choice left-back Kieran Gibbs broke down with a thigh injury in the 3-1 win over West Ham in early October.

But he is set to be dropped from the starting XI for the crunch Champions League visit to Schalke on Tuesday night.

He is expected to be replaced at left-back by Thomas Vermaelen, with Laurent Koscielny taking the Belgian's place in the centre of defence.

Gibbs, who has been out for a month, had a light training session on Monday and is earmarked for a return on Saturday when Arsenal host Fulham in the Premier League. Wojciech Szczesny has been training fully since the start of last week and should also make his comeback at the Emirates Stadium.

Despite being part of the 18-man squad that travelled to Germany, Theo Walcott (stomach) and Lukas Podolski (ankle) only trained lightly on Monday and will undergo late fitness tests ahead of the Schalke match. Andrey Arshavin is ready to step in and make a rare start if they miss out.

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