Liverpool's Pepe Reina Staying At Napoli Would Be Best For All Parties

Max Munton@thisisanfieldLiverpool CorrespondentFebruary 18, 2014

Liverpool’s on-loan goalkeeper, Pepe Reina, reiterated his desire to stay at Napoli beyond the end of the season on Tuesday—a move that would benefit both clubs and the player himself.

He spoke with Piuenne television (h/t ESPNFC) about the uncertain situation:

I'm very happy here and my family's happy too. I’ll be here right to the end, but not even I know what will happen after. I'm here now, but I've got to return to Liverpool, although it's unlikely I'll stay there.

With just a few months remaining on his loan spell at Stadio San Paolo, a resolution for all parties involved would be most preferable right now.


For Liverpool 

When Brendan Rodgers replaced the then-30-year-old Reina with the bright young face of Simon Mignolet last summer, it was the end of an era at Liverpool.

Having guarded the Reds’ goal since 2005, the Spaniard was replaced with the club’s long-term vision both on the pitch and in the finance books in mind.

When eras end, it is very rare for them to start again. If they do, it is only a temporary solution, such as Robbie Fowler’s return to Liverpool in 2006 or Paul Scholes’ to Manchester United in 2012.

Liverpool have moved on and aren’t looking back at Reina.

Mignolet has become an important fixture of a Liverpool defence which has been interchangeable this season due to injury. He produces an average of 2.19 saves per game and has a 97 percent claim success rate.

Beyond the first-choice keeper’s position, Brad Jones has played the Reds’ FA Cup games this season and the Mirror has linked Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Karl Darlow with a move to Liverpool.

A high-earning Reina just doesn’t fit in at Anfield anymore.


For Napoli

A long-term shot-stopper is good for a club. It allows them to shape and build the defence in front of him.

In Reina, Napoli have an experienced international who, apart from a couple of bad hair daysexcuse the unfortunate phrasehas settled in well at the Serie A side. 

Reina has conceded an average of 1.12 goals per game, makes 1.82 saves per game and has an average claim success rate of 99 percent.

He can command a penalty area with his agile and athletic movements, and is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world with the ball at his feet.

However, Bild has linked Napoli to Hannover 96 goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler and Sky Sports reports that the club have Argentine Mariano Andujar arriving in the summer.


For Reina

If Reina ends up back on Merseyside this summer, it will be somewhat of an embarrassment for the 31-year-old.

Having tried to push through a move to Barcelona whilst he was at Liverpool in the mindset that he would replace Victor Valdes last summer, Reina’s dream move back to the Nou Camp now looks in major doubt.

According to Diario AS in January, Barcelona will sign Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen—ending the need for the expensive Reina. 

Reina has settled into life in Italy and another move would see his career begin a yo-yoing effect, which is never good for the mental psyche of a goalkeeper.

Furthermore, he would continue to work under Rafa Benitez, who has long been an inspirational figure in Reina’s life. He stated as much in his interview with Piuenne television (h/t ESPNFC):

Benitez was the most important figure in me arriving here. He convinced me to join this ambitious project at a great club. Obviously I also wanted to get to know a different league while it was Liverpool who took the first step by not wanting me anymore because they were placing their faith in a younger goalkeeper.

Liverpool want to avoid a summer of paying Reina’s high wages whilst searching for a suitor for him, whereas Napoli want a reliable and committed goalkeeper and Reina wants to stay.

Everyone’s a winner.


Statistics courtesy of Squawka.


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