As reported by Sky Sports' Simone Bargellini, Napoli are unwilling to meet the Reds' asking price for the Spanish goalkeeper, and his agent Manuel Garcia Quilon was quoted by Corriere dello Sport on the subject of a return to Anfield:
"It's very difficult for Pepe to remain at Napoli.
From June 30, he will return to Liverpool because they want to maximise his sale, and Napoli are not willing to spend what is required."
Reina enjoyed a strong season on loan at Napoli in 2013-14, his departure making way at Liverpool for new arrival Simon Mignolet. The Belgian international quickly endeared himself to fans with his spectacular style of play, but frequent mistakes haunted his first season at the club.
Fans are calling for a solid backup for the Belgian stopper, who they believe needs a little competition. LFC Fans Corner is already thinking up names, one being Cardiff City's David Marshall:
Marshall would be a brilliant buy, would really test Mignolet. Mignolet needs competition.— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) May 22, 2014
Bringing back Reina is not the answer, however.
For starters, the 2013-14 season showed the Spanish international is still a very capable starting goalkeeper, and his success in Serie A resulted in a spot on Spain's World Cup team.
Reina still holds value for Liverpool, and he's worth too much to be wasting away on the bench, particularly with a number of talented stoppers available for free on the market. Via Barcastuff, Mundo Deportivo points out Guillermo Ochoa will be one of them:
Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (28), whose contract at French club Ajaccio expires this month, has been offered to Barcelona. [md]— barcastuff (@barcastuff) June 2, 2014
The Mexican has proven himself a capable option in goal, and he could be the perfect candidate to light a fire under Mignolet. After all, Liverpool's new goalkeeper wouldn't be brought in to potentially start over the Belgian—he just needs to keep him sharp.
Reina won't keep Mignolet sharp—he'll either perform up to the standards he played at in 2013-14 and damage Mignolet's confidence even more, or he'll do what any unhappy player seems to do in 2014: sulk.
Make no mistake about it: Reina is loving life in Naples, and a permanent move to Serie A is his primary objective at this moment, as shared by LFC Fans Corner:
Reina: "I will go back to talk about the transfer to Napoli, where I am happy and I am having a good season and we will deal with Liverpool"— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) April 10, 2014
Napoli have indicated they are interested in a permanent move for the Spaniard, but they understand all too well they are negotiating with a club who has found its starter for the future in Mignolet.
The Partenopei have no intention of paying top dollar for Reina, and with few teams actively looking at new stoppers and options like Ochoa on the market, there aren't many other takers.
Liverpool have told Napoli that they will have to stump up around £4 million if they are to sign goalkeeper Pepe Reina on a permanent deal, Goal understands.
The 31-year-old Spain international is currently on loan with the Serie A side having been deemed surplus to requirements at Anfield following the £9 million summer signing of Simon Mignolet.
A fee of £4 million seems fair for Reina, and should that number be correct, it's hard to believe Napoli wouldn't be interested in such a move.
The Italians are most likely attempting to get the lowest possible price for Reina, knowing full well Liverpool have no intention of moving forward with him. The Reds could try to bluff, but no one wants to share the dressing room with a starting-quality stopper who doesn't want to be there.
Liverpool know what they have in Reina, and judging by the transfer move for Mignolet last season and Reina's loan spell at Napoli, they know even better what they haven't. Both parties benefited from the year apart, and while Liverpool could use a capable man to push Mignolet, that man shouldn't be Reina.
The Spaniard did good things for the club during his time at Anfield, and he should be praised and remembered for it. But ultimately, both parties chose to go in a different direction, and 12 months later, both parties should respect that decision.