Denilson has vowed to work hard and help Sliema Wanderers return to the top of Maltese football as the former Arsenal midfielder was presented as a new Blues player during a presentation ceremony yesterday.
The Wanderers stole the headlines this week with the announcement that they had secured the services of the 32-year-old Brazilian midfielder and in his first comments as a Sliema Wanderers player, Denilson made it clear that his primary goal in Malta will be to help his new club win silverware.
“First of all I would like to thank Sliema Wanderers for giving me this opportunity to come to this wonderful club,” the former Brazil international said.
“I am very happy to be in Malta as it’s a very wonderful place and I really looking forward to start working with my new team-mates.
“I came here in Malta not to live an easy life but I want to work hard and be as professional as possible to help this team go as far as possible.
“I want to give my 100 per cent and help Sliema Wanderers win many titles.”
Denilson is mostly remembered for his successful five-year spell at Arsenal which has seen him make 96 appearances with the North London club and score seven goals.
Denilson said that he feels very lucky to have spent five wonderful years at Arsenal and he vowed to use all those experiences in Malta to help the team.
On a personal note, Denilson, whose career was blighted by injuries, said that he always wanted to restart his career in Europe so when the offer from Sliema Wanderers arrived, he simply could not refuse.
“In the last few months, I received a lot offers from a number of clubs but my goal was always to return to play in Europe,” Denilson said.
“So when Sliema Wanderers approached me I immediately said yes because I felt it was the right place to restart my career.
“I’m close to regaining my full fitness and I’m sure that here I will be able to rediscover my best form and show everyone that I’m still a great player.”
On his part, Keith Perry, the Sliema Wanderers president, could not hide his pride in seeing his club attract a player of the quality of Denilson.
“We simply cannot wait to see Denilson in action with the Blue colours of our club,” Perry said.
“I am sure that he will be a huge boost not only for our club but will vastly improve the image of Maltese football. I would like to thank Jeffery Farrugia as without his contacts it would not have been possible for us to get Denilson to our club.”
Perry confirmed that Jeffrey Farrugia is set to take a more active role at Sliema Wanderers and in fact he is currently in advanced talks to be the club’s new president.
“Jeffrey and I have been in negotiations since last February and I can confirm that we are at a very advanced stage in talks for him to take over as club president,” Perry said.
“As regards my future with the club, all I can say is that we are still talking but as a Sliema Wanderers fan, whether I’m part of the committee, a member or a Sliema fan my support towards the club will always
Perry also confirmed reports that appeared this week that Denilson is the first of a string of high-profile signings from the Wanderers.
“Yes it’s true that Denilson is the first of six new signings for the club,” he said.
“Jeffrey Farrugia and our new sponsors Al Khasri have lured to our clubs some high-profile players which will hopefully help the team this season.
“We are not setting any goals at the moment but what I can say is that the arrival of Jeffrey Farrugia has given a huge push to the club from an administrative point of view.
“Jeffrey has a wealth of experience in Maltese football and surely with his help we are building a strong team for the future.”
Last week, reports emerged that Sliema young defender Kurt Shaw was a target of Premier League side Ħamrun Spartans.
Asked on Shaw’s situation Perry said: “Kurt Shaw attracted the interest of a Premier League club who tabled an offer which was not accepted. For us he is an important player and we want him to be part of our squad for the remainder of his two-year contract.
“Added to that, the arrival of Denilson doesn’t mean that we are abandoning our philosophy of working with young players.
“At the moment we have 300 players in our nursery and if you look at our first team there are several young players who we are keen to give them a good future at our club.
“The young players are central to our project and we are also working hard so that if the opportunity comes, some of our most talented players will be given the opportunity to continue their career abroad.”