Andre Santos has received mixed reviews from Arsenal fans since his £6million deadline day transfer from Fenerbahce, but Arsene Wenger insists he is a better defender than he is given credit for.
The Gunners boss praised the attacking full-back, for the start he has made to life in England, and says that once the Brazilian has adapted fully to the pace of the Barclays Premier League he can be a real asset to the club.
Santos was a regular goalscorer with his former employers, having been deployed in a more advanced left-midfield role - but the 28-year-old has already netted his first Gunners league goal in Arsenal's 5-3 victory over Chelsea last weekend.
"I'm happy when he has the ball and I feel that personally he is much better defensively than many people think," said Wenger. "He's getting stronger with every game.
"He's a very intelligent boy who learns very quickly and of course he has to adapt to the pace of the English game, it's not easy to play game after game."
His prowess going forward has never been doubted, but some of Santos' defensive displays have left Arsenal fans lacking in confidence as the club's defensive frailties have once again reared their head this year.
Wenger has been advised to make further defensive additions to his Emirates Stadium squad when the transfer window reopens in January, as he looks to re-establish Arsenal as a team capable of winning the title.