Despite expressing a desire to stay with Italian side Napoli beyond his initial loan spell, Liverpool ‘keeper Pepe Reina expects to return to Merseyside at the end of the season.
The veteran Spanish shot stopper, who was expected heir apparent to Victor Valdes at Barcelona, has an uncertain future ahead of him. Over the summer, speculation that a move to the Catalan giants was a mere formality ended when Valdes decided to see out the rest of his contract and Reina, replaced by former Sunderland man Simon Mignolet as Liverpool’s first choice, was shipped off to Italy to rejoin newly installed Napoli boss in Serie A. The Spaniard has kept five clean sheets in 17 appearances for his adopted club, but with the Italian’s looking at other options, Reina may be back at Melwood before you know it.
“I’m very happy here and my family’s happy too,” he told Piuenne television. “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.” The Anfield outfit is expected to try to shift Reina on quickly upon his return, making room for both a spot on the roster and room in the wage budget – though this could work against them with other clubs knowing that they’re motivated to sell.
“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” Reina continued. Atletico Madrid have emerged as one interested party and could make a move for the veteran ‘keeper should they be unable to secure on-loan Chelsea youngster – and Mignolet’s rival for top spot in the Belgian national team — Thibaut Courtois on a permanent basis.