Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina after it was confirmed on Thursday that the Spaniard would not be making his Napoli loan deal permanent.
Reina spent last season in Naples under former Reds boss Rafa Benitez. With two years left to run on his contract, though, he must now return to Anfield.
Benitez conceded that Napoli could not afford to sign the 31-year-old permanently, per Colin Harvey in the Daily Star:
Yes. Pepe has two years left on his contract at Liverpool. He has to go back and he'll stay there. We can't afford Pepe's wages. The Premier League is a very big league and, in Serie A, we don't pay big wages like in England. He will have to fight for his position at Liverpool.
The Spain international cannot expect a great deal of first-team action if he stays on Merseyside. Simon Mignolet has confirmed his spot as the first-choice goalkeeper of Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers:
Steven Caulker, Simon Mignolet, John Ruddy & Brad Guzan: Were the only ever-present players in the PL this season (3420 mins played)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 21, 2014
However, Arsenal are reportedly interested in snapping him up at a reduced price, with the Gunners looking for competition for current first-choice shot-stopper Wojciech Szczesny.
Long-standing second-choice goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made a switch to Swansea last month, per BBC Sport.
Should Arsenal buy Reina?
The London outfit have been linked with a wide range of individuals in their pursuit of a replacement, including Real Madrid veteran Iker Casillas, per Liam Prenderville in the Mirror.
However, Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti recently ruled out any possibility of Casillas leaving the Bernabeu this summer, per Rik Sharma in the Daily Mail.
The Metro is now reporting that Wenger is preparing to make Liverpool an offer of £5 million for Reina and is confident he will be successful with the bid.
Reina is still a high-quality goalkeeper and is currently with the Spain squad at the World Cup in Brazil as La Roja attempt to defend their 2010 title.
He played 30 times in Napoli's third-place Serie A campaign last season, with football writer Adam Digby baffled as to why he was loaned out by Liverpool in the first place:
Arsenal would be well advised to snap him up. He would provide great depth in their goalkeeping ranks and put pressure on Szczesny for the No. 1 jersey.
Reina is clearly looking for an out, and he deserves to be plying his trade at a top Premier League club like Arsenal.