Arsenal signs Reyes for $ 12.5-mn

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> English Premiership leaders Arsenal unveiled their latest signing of Jose Antonio Reyes for US$ 12.5-million.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger wore a broad smile on Friday as he paraded the Gunners' latest acquisition, Jose Antonio Reyes, in front of the media at Arsenal's training ground north of London. Reyes, a highly regarded 20 year-old striker and already a Spanish international, was purchased from La Liga outfit Sevilla for an initial payment of 10 million euros, but is almost certain to become Arsenal's record signing. Wenger thinks he'll fit right in to his fluid, fast-paced team. "I would say for me he has qualities that suit the way we play. He's mobile, he's quick and has a good technical level. For the rest, it's like every other football player, you have to prove every Sunday how good you are and you have as well to be patient," said Wenger. "He's 20 years old, he has a big change in his life, we don't want to put any special pressure on him by saying you will see a 'wonder kid'. It's the same for each player, you need to be patient, and work hard, and give him time to adapt," he added. A hefty price tag can weigh heavily on a player at any age, but for the moment Reyes seems content just to have made the move, albeit away from friends and family. "Obviously, it's not for me to comment on the amount of money that has been paid for me. I'd like to thank Arsenal football club, especially Arsene Wenger and David Dein, for everything they've done to bring me to the club and I am very happy to be here," Reyes. Arsenal's new number nine surplants Francis Jeffers, currently on loan to his old club Everton in English football's traditional striker's shirt, but it's hoped Reyes can play on either wing as well, in the mould of Arsenal's current No10, Dennis Bergkamp. "I think the number I wear is not significant. It's maybe the least important thing. The most important thing is that the manager has confidence in me and that I respond to that confidence and am able to play for the club," said the youngster. "With regard to leaving Sevilla, obviously I have mixed emotions. Unhappiness at first because I'm leaving behind friends and family, and the club where I started my carreer, but at the same time joy, because I'm joining what I believe to be one of the top clubs in Europe," he added. A young man in a new country with a strange language might find it hard to settle down - indeed, Jeffers himself found the transition from Everton to London difficult even though he was moving within England. Wenger, however, thinks Reyes will blend in with his multicultural squad due to his skills on the pitch. "The real communication is with the ball and when players are on the same wavelength on the football pitch, the ball is the best communication you can have. You remember always and you always want to play with players you feel have the same feeling for the game and that is the strongest link, I think, between the players," said Wenger. Such a huge payout for a player has raised questions about Arsenal's finances - they are currently in the process of building a new 400-million (US$ 731-million) stadium and have hardly touched the transfer market in the last 18 months. All Arsenal fans must be hoping that Reyes will not turn out to be a very expensive mistake. (AP)