Fonte keen to prove himself at Arsenal PDF Print E-mail

Young Portuguese striker turns professional with Gunners

Rui FonteWhile many of the headlines in England and Portugal this summer have been taken up by Nani’s move to Manchester United, there is another product of the Sporting academy hoping to make it big in the Premiership in the near future.

17-year-old striker Rui Fonte left his homeland last year for London giants Arsenal, joining a club famed for nurturing and developing young talent, under French manager Arsene Wenger.

In an unusual deal, Fonte is currently at the Emirates Stadium on a three-year loan deal from Sporting, and recently signed professional forms with Arsenal after his 17th birthday.

“Signing this contract means a lot,” Fonte told Maisfutebol. “It’s a very big club, where any player would like to play, and has some great figures.”

“Adapting was really easy. I had the help of my colleagues and the family here that welcomed me.”

With one season in the academy already under his belt, Fonte is taking part in the senior squad’s pre-season training schedule, and says he has enjoyed his involvement with the first team.

Healthy squad atmosphere

“It has been funny. They don’t act like stars. They speak with myself and the other young players and we joke around,” Fonte said, while also revealing that he has bonded particularly well with Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor and Gael Clichy.

With regard to Wenger, a manager with an unmatched reputation for talent spotting, Fonte said: “He has told me to keep training, working and keep giving my best.”

Fonte also claims that the squad has not been affected by the departure of captain and star player Thierry Henry. “I have not been hearing about that subject,” he said. “I think the reaction after the transfer has been normal, also we have already signed Eduardo da Silva.”

When the current loan from Sporting ends in 2009, Arsenal have an option to make the transfer permanent. While happy to return to his former club, Fonte is clear on his future ambitions.

“My aim is to stay here. If I must return to Sporting I will do so with pleasure, but I want to prove myself here.”

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