Liverpool Transfer News: On-Loan Pepe Reina Needs to Leave Reds for Good

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2014

NAPLES, ITALY - FEBRUARY 27:  Pepe Reina of Napoli in action during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match between SSC Napoli and Swansea City at Stadio San Paolo on February 27, 2014 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

This week brought the revelation that Pepe Reina would be permitted to leave Liverpool for a sum of just £4 million after it was discovered that the Spaniard has a release clause in his contract.

It should be considered good news for Reina, too, with the Daily Mail's Dominic King confirming that the goalkeeper, currently on loan at Napoli, is free to leave for a set fee:

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has made it clear he does not want Reina to return to Anfield once his loan spell with Napoli is over at the end of this season.

Reina will return to Merseyside in the close season to tie up loose ends but Liverpool will not get above €5m for the Spain goalkeeper, who still has two-years left on his current deal at Anfield.

As King notes, an open letter published by Reina on his official website upon departing for Serie A seemed to end any thought of an Anfield return, with Simon Mignolet now accounting for the No. 1 spot in Rodgers' side.

In Naples, the 31-year-old has proven that he still holds value at the elite level of European football. Granted, there have been moments of weakness, but were it based on talent alone and not politics, Reina could still contend with Mignolet for the starting place at Liverpool.

However, jostling the expectations of two such talented stoppers isn't a realistic option for the Reds, and considering Mignolet stands as the younger of the two with a much longer shelf life, it makes sense that he should take precedence on Rodgers' squad.

WhoScored recently nominated the stopper as Man of the Match for his display against Roma on March 9:

One option always talked about when speaking of Reina's alternative options has been Atletico Madrid, the club for whom Reina's father played during his career.

With Thibaut Courtois' third loan spell at Vicente Calderon Stadium coming to an end at the same time as Reina's deal in Italy, the stars may have perfectly aligned for such a switch to now come about.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01:  Goalkeeper Pepe Reina of Napoli gestures during UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal FC and SSC Napoli at Emirates Stadium on October 1, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Another route could be Barcelona, with fellow Spanish international Victor Valdes set to leave the club when his deal at the Camp Nou expires at the end of the current campaign.

In any case, Reina's availability is sure to attract some major suitors when he finds himself back at Liverpool but technically still out in the cold this summer.