Madrid poised to sign Reyes

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Arsenal forward Jose Antonio Reyes is close to completing a long-awaited move to Real Madrid, news reports said on Wednesday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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Arsenal forward Jose Antonio Reyes is close to completing a long-awaited move to Real Madrid, news reports said on Wednesday. Reyes' hopes rose when he was left off Arsenal's team for Tuesday's 3-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in a Champions League qualifying game. Reyes' omission kept him eligible for Madrid in the rest of this season's competition, a requisite of the Spanish team's for the transfer to take place. Rules state that players can only appear for one club in the Champions League over a season. Madrid's sports director Predrag Mijatovic will discuss a transfer fee for the 22-year-old forward with the Premier League club on Wednesday, leading sports daily Marca said. "What I want is for the matter to be sorted out as soon as possible. Of course, I'll keep my cell phone on this Wednesday in case there's an important call," Reyes told sports daily As. However, Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger said he still feels "confident" the Spain international would stay. He said he dropped Reyes because the player was "unsettled" by the "noise about his transfer with Real Madrid". "I did not think he had the right concentration to play," Wenger said. "I just considered tonight's game and the fact he will be cup-tied or not did not come into my mind." Reyes, who joined Arsenal from Sevilla in January 2004 and who last year extended his contract to 2011, has shown interest in joining Madrid for some time. In February 2005, the forward was kidded into acknowledging his desire for a move during a mock interview staged by a Spanish radio station. Last month, he told the Spanish press he was keen to leave Arsenal for Madrid, saying he hadn't adapted to life in England, the language or the climate. Reyes would be Madrid's fourth signing of the offseason as new Madrid president Ramon Calderon and coach Fabio Capello seek to improve a team which hasn't won a trophy since 2003. He would also be the first of the newcomers who is under 30 years old. The others are Juventus' Fabio Cannavaro and Emerson together with Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy. Reyes, who made his international debut in 2003, won a Premier League winners' medal in his first season with Arsenal. A year later, he appeared in the team's FA Cup final victory against Manchester United, although he was sent off in the closing moments. Last season, he helped Arsenal reach its first Champions League final where it lost 2-1 to FC Barcelona. (AP)

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