End of the road for Liverpool’s Pepe Reina as Napoli come calling?
Liverpool goal keeper Pepe Reina will have an interesting decision to make regarding his future, as the Spaniard has reportedly been earmarked by Napoli and former Reds manager Rafael Benitez as a solution to Napoli’s goalkeeping conundrum.
Reina previously stated that he wants to stay at the Anfield club and will only think about moving elsewhere if his former club Barcelona approached him with a good offer. But, the lure of working with the manager, who gave him the platform at Liverpool back in 2005, and the person he trusts to take a good care of his career, is equally tempting.
There is no doubt that Reina is a world-class goal keeper. Though his form in recent years has deteriorated remarkably and many feel he has become too error prone to be considered as one of the very best in the Premier League.
Liverpool are in a comfortable position regarding the situation of Reina. In the summer, Brendan Rodgers has signed Simon Mignolet from Sunderland for around £10 million that has raised an inevitable question mark over Reina’s future.
Rodgers however quashed the suggestions immediately that the Belgian keeper was bought to replace Reina, rather stated having two quality keepers will add competition to the side.
It is still hard to believe though, that a side like Liverpool would be paying £10 million for a player, just for the sake of adding competition to the side. The logic doesn’t hold true, especially for a club that cannot afford to spend recklessly.
We can presume there is a thought process behind it. First, Rodgers probably didn’t want to take any risk with Reina, especially in this transfer window, when there is a chance that Barcelona might come in with a late offer for the former Villarreal player. Secondly, he probably has developed tainted doubts over Reina’s keeping, as the Spain international’s dip in form was really a worrying sign, even to his staunch supporters.
Truth is – Mignolet is Rodgers’ first choice at the club. The gaffer won’t mind, if Reina stays and maintains a healthy competition (and yes, I am not considering his £110,000 per week wages) but even if he decides to part ways, it won’t harm Liverpool deeply, as they already have an able deputy in place.
But, most importantly, Reina should grab this opportunity if any concrete offer comes in the way. No world-class goal keeper (for that matter any player) wants to warm the bench, especially in a World Cup year.
Further, he will get the chance to test himself at the Champions League and will be a part of a team that have a genuine chance of challenging for the title. And, this would present a fine opportunity for him, to get his career back on track again, as there is a chance that Rafa would bring the best out of him.
Thus, it is such a situation where Liverpool won’t mind too deep, if Reina leaves. But, Reina could gain something more, if he makes the choice.