Reyes a Lost Opportunity
Reyes signed for us during the January transfer window in 2004. The fee was £10.5m fee was negotiated with top ups, depending on the success of Arsenal, which could have risen to £17m.
Reyes endeared himself to the Arsenal fans when he scored two goals against Chelsea, knocking them out of the FA Cup. In early 2005, he was reported to be homesick while at Arsenal. Reyes was subject of a hoax call from Spain which enticed him to talk about moving to Real Madrid. From that moment, Reyes was living on borrowed time at Arsenal, the lure of Real Madrid was too much for him to resist.
In Arsenal’s 2005-06 UEFA Champions League run, Reyes featured heavily, but only came on as a substitute in the final against Barcelona. The Champions League final was to the be last game he and many other Arsenal invincibles played for Arsenal It was Real Madrid or bust for Reyes. He had played in 69 games for Arsenal scoring 16 times, a ratio he has never been able to emulate at his other clubs. Whilst at Arsenal he won the Premier League, the FA Cup and was runner-up in the Champions League.
Real Madrid were not prepared to offer a fee for Reyes, and in the end he joined them on loan while Julio Baptista moved the other way. At the end of his glory year with Real he helped them win La Liga, scoring 7 goals in 36 appearances.
Real refused to buy him, so he moved to their rivals Atletico Madrid for £8.1M. His year at the Atletico was not a great success, appearing in 26 games and not scoring one goal.
On August 8, Benfica announced the signing of Reyes on a one year loan deal. Benfica also bought 25% of his playing rights for a fee of €2.65m and ensured a buying option of the remainder 75% for an undisclosed fee. Reyes made his transfer to Benfica permanent on 23 December. At Benfica he has scored5 goals in 24 games.
Reyes‘s career has nosedived since leaving Arsenal. Had the hot-headed Spaniard stayed at Arsenal he would have been a hero, he was a fast tricky player who knew where the goal was, I wonder if he regrets his decision not to stay at Arsenal.