Reyes backs Vieira sale
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Jose Antonio Reyes is certain Arsenal will remain competitive without Patrick Vieira.Jose Antonio Reyes has lavished praise on Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and completely backs the Frenchman's decision to sell Patrick Vieira.
The sale of Vieira to Juventus caused shockwaves in some quarters, but Reyes is adamant that, as he has done in the past, Wenger will bring through the talent to ensure the France international is not missed.
Indeed, Reyes believes that Vieira will struggle to reproduce his best form without the guidance of his mentor at Arsenal and feels the North Londoners already have the strength to cover his departure.
When quizzed by AS on the possible impact of Vieira's sale, he stated: "I will say one thing, before he was with Wenger, Vieira was not the player that everyone has seen here for the last few years and it was the same with (Thierry) Henry.
"Both blossomed under this manager (Wenger) and I have no doubt he will do the same with other youngsters who come here.
"The boss knows what he is doing and knows how to get the most out of young players.
"Here we have footballers with great futures ahead of them who are already performing at a high level like Cesc and Senderos, I think that they will ensure that Arsenal continue to be amongst the big teams."
On Wenger he continued: "He is truly an incredible person.
"Although from the outside he gives off a cold image and seems a distant person, in the dressing room he is not.
"He is always looking out for us, concerned about our best interests and looking to create the perfect atmosphere."
Reyes went on to speak of his determination to reward both Wenger and Arsenal for the new long-term deal he recently signed.
While admitting that he did speak to Real Madrid last season regarding a possible move, he insisted he had no doubt about inking the new contract - which ties him to the club until 2011 - once it was offered to him.
"In football it's not normal that you are offered such long contracts, so when Arsenal offered it to me I didn't think twice," he continued.
"For me, it's a demonstration that they believe in me and want me around for many years.
"Now it's up to me to pay back that confidence and the great way they have treated me.
"There was contact with Real Madrid, I can't deny that, but when Arsenal offered me a contract extension I was the first person to say yes, I wanted to stay here even with Madrid interested."
The Spaniard also had words of warning for London rivals Chelsea and claimed The Blues are far from invincible.
Despite running away with the title last season, Reyes feels Arsenal are more than on a par with the Premiership champions.
"They are not that good and are not so far away from everyone else," he added.
"There's no doubt they have a great team, but we faced them twice last season and drew both games and they also had some luck against us.
"Arsenal can be as good as any other team and can fight for every trophy.
"You have to recognise that Chelsea have put together a great team, but we also have our weapons."
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