Pepe Reina officially has a new backup as the Reds announced today via their official site LFC.tv that they had secured the transfer of AS Roma shot stopper Alexander Doni for an undisclosed fee. Doni has been associated with Liverpool as a target since the early parts of June, but was believed to be uninterested in the move due to the necessity for him to take a pay cut.
However, it now appears that the entire matter has been settled and the 31-year-old Brazilian will take up the No. 2 position at Anfield. His arrival is expected to be followed by the loan move of Peter Gulacsi, whom enjoyed a successful loan spell to Preston North End last season before returning to the first team to cover Reina under his new manager Kenny Dalglish.
Doni has year of experience, and made 179 appearances for the Roman club from 2005-2011 and enjoyed sharing the pitch with former Liverpool great John Arne Riise, and current midfielder Alberto Aquilani. He was a key member of the 2007 Copa America winning Brazilian side, and was part of three cup winning teams for Roma when they won back to back Copa Italia titles in 2007 and 2008, and also the Italian Supercoppa in 2007.
Since 2009 he has made fewer starts as he has taken a back seat to Júlio Sérgio. With this move Doni signifies that he truly has entered the later stages of his career, and is happy to play backup at a major club. It is also believed that he will provide another level of excellent experience that the younger keepers can learn from.
Liverpool Director of Football, Damien Comolli, stated his intent on LFC.tv:
"We are delighted to sign Doni. It's a position we felt we had to strengthen because it will allow our young goalkeepers to go on loan and get some experience at some point during the season, which is crucial in their development.
"We are getting a very experienced goalkeeper who is used to handling the pressure of big games and international matches with Brazil. He had a very good end of last season with Roma, so we are very pleased."
Comolli also went on to mention that they looking into Doni as a possible signing by speaking with some of the five Brazilian players already on the squad including Lucas Leiva and Fabio Aurelio:
"I spoke to Lucas about Doni and he was very complimentary about him as a person and as a goalkeeper, so I think it's a great deal for us.
"He is suited to English football. He is big and good in the air and his distribution is quick as well. When you play for Roma for years and years, the pressure at that club in that city is tremendous, so the fact he can handle that shows he can take anything."
Brad Jones was brought in last season to be Reina's backup but he never impressed, and the former Middlesbrough man could now most likely be shown the door, as aside from Doni, the Reds have other youngsters in the wings that were shown preference over Jones last season.
Doni will offer better competition for the Spanish national even though he is not meant to be the No. 1 at the club. He will be considered the Reds' third signing as Stewart Downing has not officially inked a deal as he is currently in personal negotiations with club after they agreed a fee with Aston Villa on Wednesday.
Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson will welcome their new teammates when they arrive home from the Reds 2011 Asian tour which is nearing completion.