Arsenal and Real Madrid have agreed a deal to swap midfielder Jose Antonio Reyes for Julio Baptista in a season-long deal with a view to a permanent deal next summer.
Reyes had been itching for a return to Spain for a number of months and Real and Atletico Madrid had both been linked with moves for the forward.
Arsenal atttempted to sign Brazil’s Baptista a year ago, but he chose Real where he has been told that he would be surplus to requirements under new coach Fabio Capello.
Reyes joined Arsenal from Sevilla in January 2004 and last year extended his contract to 2011.
He has not played for Arsenal so far this season and his omission from Arsenal’s Champions League squad ensures he will be eligible to play for Real in this year’s competition.
“Now that I have signed I feel like the happiest man in the world,” the former Sevilla player said.
“However, until I signed I was not calm. On Wednesday evening I was told everything had been done. Arsenal gave the OK and Baptista was travelling to London – then I began to believe it.”