Pepe Reina has been around long enough to understand how a player must handle transfer rumours. Young players often let them linger and they quickly take on a life of their own.
Two weeks after Liverpool's season ended, the goalkeeper made his stance known.
Reina, who has been mentioned as a possible Barcelona target, said nothing has changed regarding his status and lent no credence to the Camp Nou talk, as reported by Sky Sports.
"I have my own contract with Liverpool for three more years," said Reina. "Nothing has changed.
"If so, we want to make it bigger and my future is with Liverpool.
"Right now, about Barca, there are only rumors and only people talking about possibilities. There are no facts. I cannot talk further on that."
The declaration from Reina comes a couple days after current Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes said he plans to remain with the club, per ESPN, until his contract runs out next summer. So even if Reina was considering a return move, his path appears blocked for now.
Victor Valdes says his decision not to sign a new Barcelona deal is “irrevocable” but plans to see out his contract: http://t.co/RaQRvSVsrs— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 31, 2013
Regardless, the comments about staying at Anfield were a necessity. The longer he remained silent, the more momentum he would have picked up toward another club or further Barca interest. Reina makes it clear there's nothing on the table.
It should allow things to quiet down on that front for the foreseeable future. Also, manager Brendan Rodgers can now focus on upgrading other areas of the squad to help the club get back on track for the top four next season.
If Reina would have departed for Barcelona, there would have been a major void to fill in goal and that would have required some of the resources ticketed for other areas. The Spanish international filled the spot for the past eight seasons.
So keeping him, barring some type of major change of course over the next two months, is a positive sign for the Reds.
Reina is coming off a campaign in which his form dipped at times, especially during the club's slow start, but he still managed to rack up 14 clean sheets. He was much better during the middle stages of the campaign, showcasing the type of play Liverpool fans have come to expect.
How much longer will Reina stay with Liverpool?
At 30, he should still have several productive seasons ahead of him. Even after a season which wouldn't qualify as his best, he deserves the benefit of the doubt, which explains the Barcelona link before the comments from both Reina and Valdes.
Finding another goalkeeper with his track record and experience at the highest levels of European football would be a difficult task. Rodgers has done a nice job since taking over in terms of identifying good value, but even he would struggle to replace Reina.
At least for now, it appears the issue can be put on the back burner. Reina sounds happy with Liverpool and the Barcelona rumours were apparently nothing more than that––rumours.
Talking about the situation now before the transfer window heats up was the right move by the veteran keeper. Liverpool can turn their attention to other issues.