Pepe Reina has claimed that he prefers to make Napoli his permanent home and does not favour a return to Liverpool.
The Spanish goalkeeper is due to go back to the Anfield outfit once his season-long loan spell with Napoli ends in June. But Reina has said that he did not feel he was wanted by Reds boss Brendan Rodgers and will hence look to move away. The goalkeeper also said that manager Rafa Benitez convinced him that joining Napoli was the right move.The Spanish international has two years left on his six-year £80,000-a-week Liverpool contract.
“I’m very happy here and my family’s happy too. I’ll be here right to the end, but not even I know what will happen after. I’m here now, but I’ve got to return to Liverpool, although it’s unlikely I’ll stay there.
“Benitez was the most important figure in me arriving here. He convinced me to join this ambitious project at a great club.
“Obviously I also wanted to get to know a different league, while it was Liverpool who took the first step by not wanting me anymore because they were placing their faith in a younger goalkeeper.”
— TheHardTackle (@TheHardTackle) February 9, 2014
Reina had recently spoken about his future being undecided and had said that he would go back to Liverpool at the end of the season to decide where his future lies:
“I’ll have to go to Liverpool and make a decision. They have to explain to me what their intentions are”
But Rafa Benitez’s club is not willing to chance anything and hence roped in Catania’s 30 year old Mariano Andujar in the winter transfer window, before sending him back to Catania for the remainder of the season. Napoli also have 23-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper Rafael in the ranks, who has proven to be a above-par deputy for Reina. And according to Sky Sport, Napoli are considering an approach for Hannover’s Germany international Ron-Robert Zieler.
There had been reports in January, that Benitez wanted to sign Reina permanently from Liverpool and was offering his old club a fee of £4.9 m.
Brendan Rodgers did indeed show his faith in a younger goalkeeper by bringing in Simon Mignolet from Sunderland. Pepe Reina or Simon Mignolet were both clearly good enough and Reina very experienced, to have been playing second fiddle to each other and hence sending out the Liverpool favorite made sense. Going to Naples to reunite with former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was an added advantage for Reina, who did suffer from a dip in form over a large period last season. It is unlikely that the 31 year old would rejoin Liverpool and it would be only a matter of which club Reina would eventually join, with Napoli interested in making his stay permanent and Barcelona monitoring his situation as well.
Top Image Courtesy: www.laroma24.it