Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Denilson will be leaving the club on loan for the year.
The 23-year-old had looked a bright prospect in the heart of midfield when he joined for £3.5 million in 2006, but has since seen the likes of Alex Song and young duo Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey all surpass him in the pecking order at the Emirates.
A former captain of Brazil’s under-19 side, Denilson has spoken openly in the past about his desire to represent his homeland when they host the World Cup in 2014 (don’t scoff) and will start the process of rebuilding his career by securing a move home in the coming days.
“Denilson is likely to leave to go to Brazil on loan,” confirmed Wenger after the 1-1 draw with Hangzhou Greentown on Saturday.
It is believed that former club Sao Paulo will be his destination for the forthcoming season despite early summer predictions of a move to Spain. Having signed a new long-term deal at the Emirates in 2009 it would appear the player’s wages have been a stumbling block in Arsenal’s attempts to offload him on a permanent basis.
Reflecting on his prospective return to Brazil, Denilson stressed his fondness for Arsenal while wishing his teammates the best of luck ahead of the new campaign.
“I move away with sadness because I have so many friends at Arsenal and everyone has always been so supportive towards me.
“I want to say thank you to the Club, and of course, also a big thank you to all the Arsenal fans who are very special.
“I’m now focused on doing well in Brazil next season, but will always be looking out for the Arsenal results. It is a great Club with many great players, a good team spirit and a top-class manager. I wish you well for next season.”
While Arsenal fans will no doubt be eager to forget some of Denilson’s more turgid performances (and the regular sight of him casually jogging back while opponents counter-attack) we can at least cherish the rather lovely free-kick he scored against Hull City and the pain it caused Phil Brown.