Liverpool finished the Premier League season in a respectable seventh place, but the Reds have their sights set on much loftier goals. In order to break through the EPL barrier and make a run at the top four next term, they will have to make some difficult decisions this summer.
One of those decisions may include the departure of veteran keeper Pepe Reina.
According to David Maddock of Mirror Football, Spanish side Barcelona are interested in the 30-year-old, potentially using youthful forward Cristian Tello as the piece to acquire him:
Liverpool will demand exciting young striker Christian Tello in exchange for Barcelona target Pepe Reina.
The Spanish giants believe the knowledge and experience of former Nou Camp starlet Reina make him the perfect candidate to replace their first-choice goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who is expected to leave the club in the summer.
Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers has consistently maintained he doesn't want to lose the Spanish international, but he would be prepared to listen if Barca throw Spain Under-21 forward Tello into the mix.
Should Brendan Rodgers decide the risk is worth the reward, Liverpool will be in position to make some major changes for next term—changes that could include a new keeper and some additions to their back line.
Veteran defender Jamie Carragher played his last match at Anfield Sunday, as he's set to retire this summer. With Carragher out the door and Reina potentially following, the Reds will have an opportunity to make sizeable changes—not always a bad thing considering the futility they have experienced in Premier League play of late.
But adding Tello would make that entirely possible. The addition of a tremendous young winger like the Barca product will open up several options on the summer transfer market, allowing Liverpool to use their resources to build in other areas.
One could argue swapping Reina for Tello would be a lateral move, putting Liverpool in a situation in which they need to address another major need. But the 21-year-old has massive potential that extends far beyond what the keeper could offer in the long term. Reina may have turned the corner this season, but he won’t be capable of playing at such a high level forever.
The keeper is arguably Liverpool’s most valuable asset on the transfer market, much to the dismay of Reds fans hoping to keep the top-end veteran in net going forward. Sometimes the long-term benefits outweigh the risk, though. This is one of those cases.
A defensive overhaul wouldn’t be a terrible option this summer, either.
With the addition of a winger like Tello to augment an already talented group, Liverpool won’t have to chase down another top-shelf forward—as so many other clubs will surely be doing this summer. Instead, the Reds can allocate their funds for cheaper defensive options and enter next term with a rebuilt roster on a much tighter salary than would otherwise be possible.
That’s not to say that Reina can be easily replaced, but opportunities to acquire a 21-year-old striker with so much potential are few and far between. If value and forward thinking play into the decision, Rodgers has to consider pulling the trigger and starting a rebuilding project in the defensive end.