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Arsenal wait for Andre Santos's™ flight to take off before they celebrate

Arsenal officials are standing in solemn silence waiting for confirmation that Andre Santos' flight to Rio de Janeiro has taken off, according to sources at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners have agreed a deal with Flamengo that will see the error-prone left-back return to Brazil in exchange for an undisclosed fee.

The club believed they had parted company with Santos yesterday afternoon when a fax came through confirming the deal and, after bidding Santos an emotional farewell, there was an air of relief in north London.

'We'd cracked open a bottle of champagne minutes after he left and were having a money fight with an undisclosed sum,' a source at Arsenal told

'I was midway through an impression of Andre being caught out of position after needlessly coming up for a corner when who walks in but him.'

The 30-year-old had returned to 'pick up some bits', forcing Arsenal staff into a hasty clear-up operation.

'We just turned the music off, chucked the champagne flutes in the bin and tried to rip down the banner saying 'He's Gone!' but I'm pretty sure he clocked something was up,' our source continued.

'We had to tell him it was Rose from Accounts' birthday but everyone knows that's in February. We all felt pretty awful.'

The situation became still more awkward when Santos departed again, only to return for a second time while celebrations were in full swing.

'The door flew open and Andre peered in again just as we were burning the last of his training tops - it honestly couldn't have been worse timing,' another Arsenal insider explained.

'I muttered something about a termite problem but I think he was suspicious. To make matters worse the loveable bastard's only gone out and bought Rose a box of Quality Street and a card with rabbits on it. She loves rabbits.'

Although Santos is now believed to have checked in at Heathrow Airport for his flight to Rio, Arsenal staff are said to be 'giving it a few minutes' before they return to their celebrations.

Arsenal today put a statement on their website confirming Santos' departure.

'Everyone at Arsenal Football Club would like to thank Andre for all his hard work,' it reads.

'We wish him all the very best and hope to see him back at the Emirates Stadium one day in any shirt other than ours.'