As much as we'd like him to, Pepe Reina just will not shut up about not wanting to come back to Liverpool. Over and over this season, he's told the press that he doesn't see himself at Anfield next season, that he wants to go back to Napoli, that he wants to be anywhere but in Liverpool. It's gotten to the point where eyes roll every time he opens his mouth, and it would seem that Brendan Rodgers has finally grown tired of it.
Just days after Reina's latest salvo, Rodgers has finally responded to the goalkeeper's frustrating jabs, and he did so in a highly amusing manner:
"He's already written his letter, hasn't he? He wrote a goodbye letter, didn't he?" Rodgers said with a wry smile. "I was surprised at the letter - when you are a loan player I would expect that he should come back, but obviously Pepe made it very clear when he went to Napoli that he was looking to move.
"He penned a great, big letter saying he was going to work with the best manager that he'd worked with and thanked for his time for Liverpool. So, for me, it probably sounded like he'd made his decision there."
- Source: Daily Mirror
If that doesn't say "shut up and go away", I don't know what does.
The writing has been on the wall for a long time that Reina is as good as gone. Be it to Barcelona, Napoli, or somewhere else altogether, he'll be taking his gloves elsewhere this summer. The trouble from Liverpool's perspective is that Reina's had issues with both form and fitness this season, meaning that getting a decent price for him will be tricky at best.
After a hot start to the season, Reina's gone back to his same old maddening ways that Liverpool fans grew weary of the last couple of years. He's still making a habit of rushing out at the wrong moments and getting caught out in no man's land, and has actually gotten worse about checking for other runners first. The Europa tilt against Swansea saw several examples of that, though it should also be noted that he had his best performances in several months against the Swans.
With Simon Mignolet exceeding expectations so far in his young Liverpool career, Reina moving on is probably in the best interests of everyone involved. If he's as not interested in coming back as he's made it obvious that he is, then there's no reason to keep him under contract at Liverpool for any longer than it's necessary to line up a buyer. Heck, they might as well start working on it now if they can.
Pepe Reina had a great run at Anfield, but his time has come and gone. It would be nice if he handled his departure a bit more gracefully than we've seen, but he's always been an emotional player and probably felt insulted when Mignolet was brought in to compete for his job. In any case, it's certain that most if not all Liverpool fans wish him well in his future endeavors, even if they won't be coming in a Liverpool uniform.
I, for one, will just be glad for when he finally stops talking about leaving.