Santos leaves Arsenal to join Gremio on loan

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LONDON (AP) -- Arsenal has allowed much-maligned defender Andre Santos to join Brazilian team Gremio on loan for the rest of the season.

Santos has become third-choice left back at the Premier League club -- behind Kieran Gibbs and recent signing Nacho Monreal -- and has been heavily criticized by Arsenal fans for some poor displays this season.

He also received stick for swapping shirts with former teammate Robin van Persie at halftime of Arsenal's 2-1 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford in November.

The Brazil international has played 36 games for Arsenal since signing in August 2011.

With Gibbs injured and Monreal cup-tied, Arsenal may now have to play Thomas Vermaelen at left back for the first leg of its Champions League last-16 match against Bayern Munich next week.