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Santos blames cultural differences over fans’ shirt swap anger

Andre Santos tried to endear himself to the hearts of Arsenal’s fans yesterday with a parting message on Arsenal.com, insisting that he is grateful for our support and that he hopes to return to the club after his loan spell with Gremio.

The defender has come under a lot of criticism for his performances this season, and has ended up leaving the club for the rest of the campaign to return to his native Brazil. His future came under serious doubt after Arsene Wenger seemingly didn’t trust him enough to replace Kieran Gibbs for just a few weeks, prompting him to sign another left-back Nacho Monreal from Malaga on the final day of the January transfer window.

Santos also came under fire for appearing to approach former Gunner Robin van Persie for a swap of shirts at half time during Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester United, where the Dutch striker controversially moved in the summer. In extra quotes from the Telegraph, Santos had this to say on the incident:

“You guys have a different culture than me and it is still very hard to understand why people hold this grudge over me. The relationship was very good until the incident with Van Persie. I have apologised and moved on. I have all my respect to the fans of Arsenal. Hopefully soon I will be back and giving them many happiness.”

While this sounds perfectly possible – it’s hard to know what cultural norms he’s used to – it also sounds like a pretty easy card to play when you’ve embarrassed yourself. I’ve never seen any other Brazilians do that during half time of a game you’re losing to a goal from your former captain and star player who left for a rival in the way he did.

Despite his apology and genuinely seeming like a nice guy, I imagine his relationship with Arsenal fans is beyond repair now. Not to mention he doesn’t look fit enough for English football in general. I doubt he’ll be playing for us again anytime soon.

Follow me on Twitter @markbrus

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