Liverpool Transfer News: Latest on Pepe Reina's Loan and Luis Suarez Situation
The 2013 summer transfer window has been one of mass inertia in the English Premier League. As many of the world's top clubs fall over each other to land the summer's biggest names on the market, most Premier League sides have been satisfied sitting out and waiting for the deadline to draw near.
Such is usually the case for Liverpool. Not boasting the highest wage budget in the Premier League, Brendan Rodgers' side tends to take a more conservative outlook on the open market. Their biggest moves of the summer thus far have been Simon Mignolet coming in to take the goalkeeping duties and the addition of forward Iago Aspas to give the club even more depth.
Well at least that's the case for players Liverpool are trying to bring in. The Luis Suarez saga has taken a life of its own this summer, with the striker casting a storm cloud over everything the Reds have tried to do. Whether he'll stay or whether he'll go are two vastly different results that could shake the foundation of what Liverpool are trying to do this summer.
Based on recent reports coming out of Anfield, we're on the precipice of finding out. And elsewhere, it seems the lack of funds has again reared its ugly head for Liverpool, with a certain longtime club star heading elsewhere for 2013-14.
What else is going on in the news? Here is a quick breakdown of all the latest news and notes coming out of Anfield.
Pepe Reina Passes Medicals, Will Go to Napoli on Loan
Pepe Reina is one of the most decorated goalkeepers in Liverpool history. The 30-year-old Spaniard came over to Liverpool from Villarreal in 2005, having established himself as one of the finest young netminders in the world. Ever since, he's been a man synonymous with Liverpool.
Having stayed remarkably healthy through his excellent career, Reina has never made fewer than 31 starts for the club. He's been a steady force of consistency in the Premier League, sticking with Liverpool despite plenty of roster turnover and some tumultuous years. He also won three consecutive Golden Gloves from 2006 to 2009—the Golden Glove is awarded to the keeper with the most clean sheets in the Premier League.
Pepe Reina is also a man without a first-team job. Or at least, he was. With Liverpool having landed their long-term replacement in net earlier this summer in former Sunderland standout Simon Mignolet, Rodgers made his commitments obvious this summer.
What's Liverpool's loss is about to be Napoli's gain. According to David Anderson of the Mirror, Reina was in Italy earlier this week to get his medical testing done with the impetus of him joining the Serie A club. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed that Reina (and Gonzalo Higuain) passed the tests and will be joining the club in the interim.
"Higuain and Reina passed medicals and will join group very soon," wrote De Laurentiis on his Twitter page (h/t Goal.com). "Monday night we will make a big party at San Paolo. You will know new players and more."
Reina's move to Italy will reconnect the Spanish goalkeeper with Rafael Benitez, who served as Liverpool's manager from 2004 to 2010.
Though bittersweet, Reina's departure was a financially based decision. Earlier this month, Rodgers acknowledged Reina's massive weekly wage (£110,000) was just too much to pay for a backup keeper, per Sky Sports.
"Financially it was something that we needed to look at," said Rodgers. "That would be the reason (to move Reina) as you wouldn't move on a top goalkeeper. It (the situation) reared its head over the last couple of months and I had to prepare by bringing in another keeper."
Arsenal Triggers Suarez Clause With Bid, Situation Still Developing
Somewhere in America, Dwight Howard is sitting in his mansion, criticizing Luis Suarez for his handling of this summer. Or he's eating candy. Whatever.
But Suarez, the controversial Liverpool striker whose name has been in the tabloids all summer long, is in the midst of a prolonged saga that could stretch into the beginning of the season. The 26-year-old Uruguayan first spoke of his desire to leave Liverpool in May, citing the never-ending swarm of media and paparazzi attention he sees when out on the town, as reported by Andy Hunter of The Guardian.
One could quite easily figure out why Suarez has seen so much attention. Garnering the (warranted) title of the Premier League's "bad boy," Suarez has faced multiple suspensions during his time at Liverpool. One for spouting racial epithets at Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra, the other for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic. The latter suspension will keep Suarez out of the lineup for the first six games of this coming season and has made him one of the more reviled players (if not the most reviled player) in the Premier League.
That said, it's hard to teach this young man's talent. He's one of the finest goalscorers in the world, having finished the 2012-13 campaign with 23 strikes to the back of the net in the league. That total was second behind only Manchester United star Robin van Persie.
While it's possible to hold contempt for Suarez's actions and his personality defects, each club has to do the risk-reward limbo with potentially acquiring the Uruguayan stud.
Understandably, suitors lined up in droves early in the transfer period when Suarez let his intentions be known. Only Liverpool's ownership group had rebuffed every request—at least until Arsenal's big move this week.
As noted by The Mirror's John Cross, Arsene Wenger's club triggered a negotiations clause in Suarez's contract by making a £40,000,001 bid this week. The bid produced this reaction from John W. Henry, the principal owner of the club:
What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) July 24, 2013
That being said, this saga is far from over. Cross notes that Rodgers has put a £50 million price on Suarez's rights, which seems a bit pricey for the usually conservative Arsenal budget. But if Wenger was able to squeeze out £40 million for a bid to trigger Suarez's clause, it will at least be interesting to see whether he'll be able to get the extra funds.
Either way, it's starting to feel like Suarez is more likely to play elsewhere this coming season than he is to stick at Liverpool.
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