Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Would Be Wise to Sell Pepe Reina in Summer

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 05:  Pepe Reina of Liverpool shouts to his team-mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on May 5, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Pepe Reina has been a loyal servant of Liverpool since arriving in 2005. The time has probably come, though, for both parties to go their separate ways.

Speculation has been rife this summer that Reina will be off to Barcelona. It was the club where he started his career, and an opening might be there if Victor Valdes eventually leaves, as John Cross of Mirror Football notes is possible.

Liverpool aren't beating around the bush and waiting for Reina to make a decision, as the Daily Mail's Joe Bernstein reported they are looking at Sunderland's Simon Mignolet as a replacement.

Reina has made it clear that he is perfectly happy to remain at Anfield, and the only club he would move to is Barcelona: "I have a contract at Liverpool and I feel valued there. The only reason I would plan to move elsewhere is if there was interest in me from Barcelona."

While it would be sad to see him leave, the club would be making a good decision by profiting off Reina now.

Even with his affinity for Barca out in the open, the Reds would realistically still be able to get a fee in the range of £12-20 million for him.

In the future, his value is only going to drop. While goalkeepers do remain on top form longer than outfield players, Reina is 30 years old. It's not like he's got another seven to 10 years to offer a new club. If the Reds are going to pull the trigger on any sale, they need to do it while Reina is still valuable.

From about 2006-09, Reina was one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He would make fantastic saves, and his distribution was second to none.

Over the last couple of seasons, though, the Spaniard has started to fall off little by little. It's not as if he has completely fallen off a cliff and is a terrible keeper now.

No one could argue, though, that Reina is still the player he was when Liverpool was qualifying for the Champions League.

Reina has always been prone to a howler. That percentage seems to have risen in recent years. Mistakes are bound to happen, and with goalkeepers, they're magnified. With Reina, they happen a little too often now to be explained away by bad luck.

Save percentage is also a big problem. Andrew Beasley had a nice post on Bass Tuned to Red that pointed out how Reina's save percentage has dropped pretty much every season since 2005-06. His save percentage continued declining in 2012-13, only reaching 67.6 percent, which would be the lowest it's been since Reina moved to Anfield. He also had the second highest goals against average of his Liverpool career.

Supporters can argue that Mignolet or Asmir Begovic aren't the kind of goalkeepers who are good enough to get Liverpool back into the Champions League. While those concerns have a certain amount of validity, the same questions should be asked about Reina as well.

At a certain point, you have to start objectively evaluating a player based on what he is doing now and not his reputation. Given his recent performances, there's nothing that would make you think Reina is going to return to form. He'll remain a good goalkeeper, but he'll also be continuing his downward trajectory.

At least someone like Mignolet or Begovic is younger and is bound to improve.

The transfer of Reina would be a sentimental loss for Liverpool, but it could actually turn out to be an improvement on the pitch.