The 2013 summer transfer window is picking up speed and deals are being made left, right and centre.
Liverpool have featured prominently on the market so far, but all the buzz has surrounded incoming players; Luis Alberto (£7 million), Simon Mignolet (£9 million), Iago Aspas (£7m) and Kolo Toure (free) all joined up ready for the first day of preseason training.
Outgoings have been limited, and while Andy Carroll has been shifted for £15 million, there are still several unwanted players left on the wage bill. The usual suspects—Stewart Downing, Jose Enrique—are available for the right price, but to our shock, it seems Pepe Reina joins them on the transfer list.
Spending £9 million on goalkeeper Mignolet was a quizzical deal at the time. Rodgers told The Mirror that he saw the Belgian as competition for current incumbent Reina, and fans felt the money could have been used to sign a first-team player elsewhere.
With central defence and left-back major concerns, and with the likes of Douglas, Toby Alderweireld and Angelo Ogbonna on the market (at the time), it did seem odd to tie up so much money in a backup goalkeeper.
The reasoning behind the deal has now become clear.
Backtracking on his original statement regarding competition for places, Rodgers has admitted to The Liverpool Echo, via ESPN, that the Reds' heavy wage bill dictated the move:
"Financially it is something we needed to look at. That would be the reason because obviously you wouldn't move on a top goalkeeper."
Reina's reported £110,000-per-week wage is something the Liverpool management are eager to be rid of, and one staunch way to make that abundantly clear is to invest a large sum in his replacement.
The Spaniard knows the situation, and as much as he loves the club and remains a true dressing room leader, his form over the past two or three seasons hasn't lived up to his mighty wage.
He seems set to move on, and now faces competition from Morgan De Sanctis and new signing Rafael Cabral in Italy barring any complications.
The value in this deal, for both sides, is unreal.
Reina's wage packet is shifted, allowing Liverpool to free up £110,000-per-week and integrate Mignolet as first-choice with very little animosity. The club receive a loan fee and can put that £110,000-per-week to work on a new signing or a new contract.
The Reds have managed to find a diplomatic way of removing an underperformer and starting fresh—impressive.
Napoli move away from a slightly error-prone De Sanctis, while providing an excellent tutor for Rafael's adaption to European football. Reina significantly improves the starting XI and heightens his chances of making the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad by playing, not sitting on the bench.
It's one of the best value signings a club can make—particularly on loan—and it helps Liverpool in more ways than one. Great all-round business, and pound-for-pound one of the best transfers that will happen this summer.
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