Reyes switch a step closer

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Jose Antonio Reyes has spoken of his desire to sign for Atletico Madrid, with the Liga outfit's persistence looking set to pay dividends before Thursday's transfer deadline.

Reyes's future at Arsenal has been the subject of speculation all summer long, but an end to the protracted negotiations could now be in sight.

Arsenal are keen to recoup the ‚é¼20 million (£13.5 million) they paid Sevilla for Reyes in January 2004, and the indications are that the ambitious Liga club are willing to match that valuation.

Reyes has been hankering after a return to Spain for some time, and, after reports of initial interest from Real Madrid, and failed bids from Atletico, he may be about to get his wish.

"I want to leave Arsenal but not just to play anywhere - I do not want to lose my prestige," Reyes told the Guardian.

"I am excited about the prospect of going to Atletico. They are building an exciting team.

The transfer would find favour with the player's potential strike partner Fernando Torres.

"I really hope he comes," said Torres. "It would be a big step forward for us in terms of quality.

"I have spoken to him and he is very keen to come but right now it's in the hands of the clubs."