Former Arsenal misfit details 125mph police chase ahead of training
Andre Santos joined Arsenal from Fenerbahçe in the 2011 summer transfer window, but had more impact off the pitch than on it before his departure two years later.
Former Arsenal misfit Andre Santos has detailed the 125 mph police chase that resulted in his arrest and senior players such as Mikel Arteta blasting at him.
Santos joined the Gunners from Fenerbahce in August 2011 for just over £5m but struggled to break into Arsene Wenger’s side, making 33 appearances in all competitions in 18 months.
He was loaned out to Gremio during the January 2013 transfer window, before joining Flamengo on a permanent deal in the summer of that year.
His time at the Emirates Stadium was marred by several incidents, including when he swapped shirts with former Arsenal captain Robin van Persie at half-time in a game against Manchester United.
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Arguably his most controversial moment came when he was stopped the day before the Premier League season opener, when he was due to start.
Santos has now recalled that incident, describing the events that led to police chasing him at 125mph.
“I was arrested in London on my way to training. I actually had three cars when I was playing for Arsenal: a Smart, a Land Rover, for the family and a sports car, which I loved well, the Maserati,” he told Diario do Fla.
“I was going to practice with the Maserati, I was making a lot of noise, every time the police saw me they stopped. Ok, I asked for a document.
“That day I was going to training and there was a street that went to Arsenal’s training ground, which was called M25. Then, new to England, everything works.
“I was with Maserati and I thought, ‘I’ll give it a try’. Silent, sound of Belo exploding. Listen to Belo and go practice.
“The police stopped and I didn’t see him. I rode in the M25 and tore it apart. It was 70 mph [112 m/h, the speed limit]. I was at 125 mph [201 km/h].”
Police were able to arrest Santos near Arsenal’s training ground, with the club’s senior players questioning his actions.
“Then, cutting, cutting, when I approached the training ground, where there was a fork, I stopped, two police cars stopped me and another came behind,” Santos added.
“They told me to get out of the car, I got out. She didn’t even speak English. And the sound exploding with Belo.
“I said I was not a criminal and they searched me. the [Arsenal] the guys who are going to train, Giroud, Arteta: ‘what did you do?’ “.
Santos was forced to wait for a Portuguese gardener to translate what the police were telling him, with the Brazilian subsequently detained for most of the day.
“I just wanted someone who spoke Portuguese to help me. Seu José, a Portuguese man who worked at the training ground, took care of the fields, came to help me,” he said.
“They arrested me, handcuffed me, put me inside the van. They said I needed someone to pick up the car and I was going to the police station.
“I was arrested. A day before the Premier League premiere. I would be in charge. I stayed from 9am to 7pm.