WTTGT Writer: Matt Mace
When Joes Antonio Reyes arrived at Arsenal, the talk amongst the media was that he would develop into a world-beater. In reality, however, he faded into arguably Arsenal’s priciest flop. Sporadic form and mood swings blighted an otherwise encouraging start to his life in London, and some can’t help but wonder what would have become of the Spaniard if that radio hoax had never happened (when he was tricked into saying he wanted to leave Arsenal for Real Madrid).
In all honesty, Reyes has hardly set the world alight since leaving the Gunners back in 2006. Despite featuring heavily in the sole season that he played for Real Madrid, the tricky winger found it hard to shine alongside players with the calibre of Robinho, Raul and van Nistelrooy.
His time at arch rivals Atlético Madrid was just as inconsistent as previous seasons; in fact it wouldn’t be absurd to say that Reyes’ time in north London was arguably the best that fans saw of the disillusioned Spaniard. Even in Arsenal’s current precarious situation it is hard to see Reyes walking into the current side, but there is no doubting that on his day he was world class; it’s just a shame that his day was about as frequent as a Nicklas Bendtner goal.
But, with Reyes enjoying somewhat a resurgence whilst on loan at Benfica, and then again back at Atletico, I can’t help but ask what could Reyes do for the current Arsenal team?
With Gervinho finally starting to settle, and the pacey Walcott starting to live up to his potential, I can’t see Reyes hugging the touchline. However, I could see Reyes slotting in behind van Persie, a player who has been starved of service as of late. Despite Arteta’s promising start to his Arsenal career, there is a definite lack of creativity in the team, and with the much maligned Arshavin still struggling to recapture his early form, maybe a Reyes type could go some way to resorting it.
His brace against Chelsea as well as playing important roles, albeit from the bench at times, in Arsenal’s historic Champions League run portrays his ability at the highest levels, not to mention the fact that everywhere he’s gone he’s won silverware which suggests that maybe he has an uncharacteristic winning mentality, something that Arsenal are in dire need of.
However, with games against Sunderland, Marseille, Stoke and Bolton to come, hopefully the Gunners can find rejuvenation from within the senior players at the club. Or, can the likes of Miyachi or Oxlade-Chamberlain fill the boots of current absentees.
Will Arsenal always need a player like Reyes, capable of the sublime but at times exceptionally ordinary?
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