WANDERERS have asked former Brazil international Julio Baptista to stick around and prove his fitness before talking contracts.

Phil Parkinson confirmed on Tuesday night the 35-year-old former Arsenal and Real Madrid star had been working with the Under-23s in an effort to secure a return to English football.

Baptista raised hopes of a deal when he posted a picture of himself in the Whites’ Hotel on his Instagram account, teasing the words “coming soon,” “get ready,” and “big announcement.”

But The Bolton News understands the proximity of upcoming games against Middlesbrough and Sheffield United means he will be unable to train with the first team until next week at the earliest, casting some doubt on the deal.

It has been suggested Baptista could be used in the development squad’s game at QPR on Monday – but the Brazilian’s representative wants some guarantees a deal will be forthcoming.

Parkinson denied there was any imminent offer for the veteran but is understood to have been impressed with his physical condition after the player underwent medical tests earlier this week.

“He came in and has been training with our Under-23s, but that’s it at the moment,” he said. “He’s a good contact of Lee (Anderson).

“It really has been a great bit of experience for the younger lads to train with a player of that stature and pedigree.”

Wanderers would also require permission to extend their squad from the EFL, which is another potential delaying factor in any offer to Baptista.

Baptista earned 55 international caps for his country, playing club football for Arsenal, Roma and Real Madrid, among others.

Meanwhile it is understood the club is ready to rule out a move for former skipper Jay Spearing. A deal has been mooted for the midfielder since his contract expired in the summer but while he is still looking a new club, Parkinson is not seeking to bring him back to the Macron Stadium.