Record Arsenal signing Reyes says heart lies in Seville
Friday 06 February 2004
Jose Antonio Reyes, Arsenal's £17m record signing from Sevilla, admitted yesterday that he plans to return to the Spanish club sooner or later.
The youngster, who flew home yesterday to bid farewell to his old club, said: "My desire is to return. I will always be Sevillista and that fondness is always something special and will continue."
Of his first experiences of the English game, he added: "The referees whistle a lot and take control. They do not whistle half as much in Spain."
Reyes was in positive mood despite scoring an own goal in only his second appearance for the Gunners. "Obviously I wasn't aiming to score quite like that," the 20-year-old forward jokingly said in Seville. "But at least I made an impact."
Reyes diverted the ball into his own net five minutes from time to ensure a 3-1 aggregate defeat for his new side in their League Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough on Tuesday.
Reyes hopes to atone for his error as soon as possible. "Actually I wasn't doing that badly until then, but scoring the own goal changed everything. Anyway I've got plenty of time ahead of me to make up for the mistake."
Sol Campbell believes that Arsène Wenger's willingness to spend most of his annual transfer kitty on the winger Reyes is a vote of confidence in the Arsenal defence. Wenger was castigated last summer by some observers for not investing in an experienced centre-back, with Arsenal's goals-against record having cost them dearly in last season's title race.
However, Kolo Touré has since emerged from the fringes of the team to save Wenger several million pounds in the transfer market by slotting in alongside Campbell, with Pascal Cygan and Martin Keown in reserve. Wenger, therefore, felt able to put aside strengthening his defence during the transfer window and instead splashed out on Reyes.
Campbell, who has already been impressed by Reyes, said: "It's a big signing and shows our ambitions. The club want to push on and it seems like the money has been spent wisely with Jose. There's been so much interest in the signing and it's great for the fans to have a big signing like this. I hope, as the years go by, that he can be a success and prove himself to be one of the best in the world."
While Wenger still has some money to invest, his estimated annual transfer kitty of £20m has now mostly been used up. "The manager has talked about wanting to strengthen the side in attack," Campbell told the club's official programme ahead of this weekend's trip to Wolves. "I know he's been looking at Jose for a long time and he's got his man now so that will help everyone at the club. But, yes, I would say that it does endorse the fact that the boys have done well at the back. We've still got to keep it going though, that's the main thing."
Campbell was rested for Arsenal's Carling Cup semi-final defeat at Boro, but will return at Wolves in the hope of continuing his run without domestic defeat this season.
He added: "I'm happy and playing well. Things seem to have slotted into place this season for the team. We're concentrating and we have a good balance at the back, and we just have to keep things going."
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