Reports in Spain claim Everton have made a move to sign former Arsenal star Jose Antonio Reyes’s on a 6-month loan contract. This deal would fit perfectly with David Moyes recent comments about any transfer deals he is looking to make in January.
The Everton manager revealed, “I’ve got one in and I’m hoping to bring in another two or three because it has got to the point where I can’t keep waiting for the injured players to return.
“At the start of the season we had 21 outfield players. Maybe four of them were injured and we were expecting to have them all back by August or September.
“The only one that has returned is Yakubu – and he will be off to the African Nations in January – so we need to add to the numbers we’ve got.
“We haven’t made a great deal of progress and, as always happens, you pick up injuries during the course of the season.
“We need at least three or four new faces in but the reality is that they will all have to be loan signings.”
Reyes’ Atletico Madrid team-mate Maxi Rodriguez has been strongly linked to a move to Goodison but the Argentine wideman is an integral member of the squad and is unlikely to be moved on in any loan deal. Reyes is more of a fringe player and is available following a less than successful time with the club. Moyes needs players with versatility and the former Spanish international can play on both wings, up front or in the hole. The fact that he has experience of playing in the Premier League is a plus as Everton’s Scottish manager needs players that won’t take too long adapting to the English game.
The 26-year-old’s career has taken a huge downturn since leaving the Gunners in the summer of 2006 but surely a player of his age, quality and experience is hardly a gamble as the undoubtedly talented player looks to rebuild his career. Everton are in negotiations regarding his availability so a move back to the Premier League may now be on.
Reyes spent last season playing for Benfica on loan where he made 24 league appearances (20 starts) and scored just 4 goals. The Lisbon club finished a disappointing 3rd in the league although they did win a League Cup on penalties against Sporting with Reyes scoring the equaliser in the initial 1-1 draw. The Portuguese giants were expected to sign the player but instead moved for Javier Saviola and Keirrison. This left the Spaniard facing a return to Atletico where he has since made 12 league appearances but only started four times.
Despite being just 26, Reyes has already played for five different clubs including Sevilla, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Benfica. He began his career with Sevilla and was extremely popular after scoring 22 goals in 86 league games from a left-wing position. Reyes signed for Arsenal in a £10.5m deal in January 2004 joining a side that were in superb form and would remain unbeaten in the league leading to the tag ‘the Invincibles’. His departure from Seville caused the Spanish fans to demonstrate in protest at the sale of their cult hero. In two and a half seasons the Spaniard scored 16 goals in 69 league appearances in North London (53 starts).
An excellent start to his first full season in England saw Reyes score in each of the first five matches but his form waned and rumours of home sickness came to light. He signed a new 5-year contract in July 2005 and played his part in Arsenal’s march to the 2006 Champions League final in where he came on as a substitute in the defeat against Barcelona.
Reyes joined Real Madrid on loan that summer in exchange for Julio Baptista but struggled to break into the first team making just 14 starts in La Liga as well as 16 substitute appearances while scoring 6 goals. Despite a disappointing time at the Bernabeu, Reyes finished on a high as he scored twice on the final day of the season for Real to win the title. The Madrid giants had been 1-0 down when he came on as a substitute and scored with his first touch.
Instead of signing permanently with Real, Reyes moved to their rivals Atletico but again struggled to make an impact. He made 26 league appearances (10 starts) in his first season and failed to score. This prompted the club to loan him to Benfica last season after selling 25% of his playing rights to the Portuguese club.
Not only has the player’s club form deteriorated but he has also disappeared from the international set-up. Reyes earnt his first Spanish cap in September 2003 but failed to make the Euro 2004 squad. He was part of the 2006 World Cup squad but has drifted out of the international set-up as his club form has dipped in recent seasons. The Spaniard has won 21 caps and scored 4 goals at that level.
At 26 the player still has the opportunity to return to the top level and David Moyes may be the man to resurrect the Spanish star’s career. He would join fellow countryman Mikel Arteta at the club so may not feel as isolated as he did with the Gunners. Reyes’ ability to play up front or on the wing would give David Moyes far more options within his squad and as a loan signing would hardly be a risk. Reyes has the pace and dribbling ability to offer something different to the current Everton squad without breaking the bank so could prove to be an absolute snip if he could recapture anything like the form he once showed at Arsenal.
Would you take a gamble on Jose Antonio Reyes? Would he be a useful acquisition for Everton? Let’s hear your views.