Arsenal's Gilberto to seal Panathinaikos deal

July 16, 2008

Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva is set to be unveiled by Panathinaikos tomorrow after flying into Athens tonight.

The 31-year-old Arsenal is set to undergo a medical before signing a three-year contract in a move which will cost the Athens club a reported total of around £7.9million.

PAO president Nikos Pateras met with Gilberto's representatives last week and thrashed out a deal after Arsenal accepted an offer of around £1million to bring to an end a six-year stay with the Gunners.

Gilberto was overwhelmed by the reception he received at Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport and was whisked away by Pana officials without making any statements to the local media.

Barring any last-minute changes, the World Cup winner will ink a deal that will see him earn £6million over the next three years, making him by far the best paid player in the country.

Despite being made vice captain of Arsenal in 2006, Gilberto found himself on the fringes of the first team last season due to the presence of Cesc Fabregas and the emergence of Mathieu Flamini, who has since left the club and been replaced by France midfielder Samir Nasri.

After beginning his career in 1997 with America Mineiro, Gilberto moved to Atletico Mineiro three years later. He earned a starting berth in the Brazil team that won the 2002 World Cup.

His displays in Japan and Korea were rewarded by a move to Arsenal that summer and he went on to win one Premier League title and two FA Cups with Arsene Wenger's men.