Opta Jury: Jose Antonio Reyes
By Paul Townley
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Has Jose Antonio Reyes been a hit, a miss or is the jury still out?
Arsene Wenger made a rare mid-season foray into the transfer market in January 2004 and the object of his desire was Spanish sensation Jose Antonio Reyes. The youngster had carved a name as one of the rising talents in European football but it was a surprise when he elected to move to England so early in his career.
Reyes was pitched into the Arsenal team soon after signing and he ended the 2003-04 season with a Premiership champions medal and a haul of five goals. Three of them came against Chelsea, two in the FA Cup and one in the ultimately unsuccessful European Cup quarter-final.
Earlier in the campaign, while still a Sevilla player, Reyes had managed his first international goals, bagging a brace for Spain against Armenia. Disappointingly for the flying winger, those strikes remain his only efforts for his country.
While 2003-04 was seen as a transitional season for Reyes, much was expected of him when Arsenal set out to defend their league title in 2004-05. Initially, Reyes delivered in style, starting the season in electric fashion. He scored a goal in each of The Gunners' first six games of the campaign and his pace and directness was adding a ferocious sheen to Arsenal's cultured attack.
But though no-one could have foreseen it, Reyes' goal against Fulham on September 11 was to prove the last in his terrifying burst onto the new season. Reyes managed just one more goal in the next 16 Premiership games and seemed to lose his way. Rumours that he was keen on a move back to Spain refused to subside and his play seemed to suffer as a consequence.
Arsene Wenger consistently maintained that he had no intention of losing Reyes and there was a definite improvement in the Spaniard's play by the end of the season. Goals in April wins against Liverpool and Tottenham were warmly welcomed by The Gunners' fans, and though Reyes ended the season by being only the second player in history to be sent off in an FA Cup final, he did at least end on the winning side.
Despite his inconsistent second season at Arsenal, Reyes still has a better conversion for the London club than he did for Sevilla. He has converted 15 per cent of his chances for the Gunners, which is a respectable rate. He has also mustered 11 assists, just one fewer than he managed in Spain but from fewer games. He has scored goals at a quicker rate for Arsenal too, though it should be pointed out that he has played as a striker for the English side more than he did at his previous club.
| || || |
|Player||Jose Antonio Reyes||Jose Antonio Reyes|
|Club||Sevilla - La Liga (2001-2004)||Arsenal - Premiership (2004-present)|
|Minutes On Pitch||6105||2682|
|Shots On Target||79||33|
|Shots Off Target||84||39|