There are reports circulating out of Italy that our old friend Rafa Benitez is considering trying to acquire Jose Manuel Reina, helping to continue his efforts to rebuild Napoli's squad in his image. Tony Barrett of The Times has given the report additional credence, suggesting that Benitez is preparing a bid for the Spanish goalkeeper and that this, unlike previous rumored reunions, is one that actually has some legs.
Reina has been continually linked to moves away from Anfield this summer, mostly in connection with Barcelona and the questions surrounding Victor Valdes' status there. While things have been a bit quieter on that front in recent weeks, it's no surprise to see more rumors involving Pepe leaving Liverpool, nor to this particular destination.
Benitez, who originally signed Reina when coaching Liverpool in 2005, is in the middle of a significant rebuilding project in Napoli, who finished second in Serie A last season before Walter Mazzarri left for a new challenge with Inter Milan. Napoli have relied on the steady hands of Morgan de Sanctis in goal in recent years, but advancing age has taken a noticeable toll on the 36 year old Italian, and a move for younger keepers seems to be high on Rafa's agenda.
Napoli have already signed 23-year old Brazilian goalkeeper Rafael, but are still interested in a more veteran set of hands so that the youngster can learn for now. The Partenopei have been linked to a loan of Julio Cesar in recent weeks as well, but the latest news on the matter have talks with QPR breaking down. With that in mind, Reina would make a certain sense for the Italian club, as Rafa already trusts him from previous experience.
Of course, there's every chance that this is just the media making a connection between a manager and a maybe-available player that he once coached. We've seen it often enough this summer with Napoli, with several of Rafa's former wards with both Liverpool and Chelsea linked to the club since he took charge earlier this summer. Still, this will be something to monitor as the summer progresses to see if the links take a firmer shape.