With the revelation of a £4.2M release clause that was added into Pepe Reina's contract as part of the goalkeeper agreeing a move to Napoli on loan for the season, a fairly low bar was set for Liverpool divesting themselves of the Spanish shot stopper this summer. The only problem was that, even at a knockdown rate, there appeared few obvious suitors.
Barcelona, the destination Reina had previously set his heart on, had decided to go with Borussia Monchengladbach's 21-year-old Marc-Andre ter Stegen, a player most expect to be amongst the world's elite goalkeepers over the next ten years. Few other sides in Spain could afford him, and any interest elsewhere seemed limited. For £4.2M, though, Napoli may be coming around on the idea of keeping him.
"After yesterday’s victory I went down to the locker room and I promised the players a bonus if they can finish second," Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis said following their victory over Serie A leaders Juventus. "Then I talked to Reina and told him that he must remain with us. I want him confirmed for next season. He was happy, for him it was a double reward."
The only question for most Liverpool fans will be if the two clubs would be kind enough to sort something out before the end of the week such that Reina's future can stop being an issue shortish. Even if it doesn't happen until the end of the season, though, at least it's a step towards allowing Reina and Liverpool to both move on after a year filled with too much antagonism and recrimination.
One reason any deal might take time despite the £4.2M clause setting a clear sale price involves speculation Liverpool could be interested in Napoli's Valon Behrami and Gokhan Inler. Both are defensive-minded Swiss midfielders likely to cost upwards of £10M, and while it seems unlikely Liverpool would chase both, a partial exchange of Reina plus cash for one could make sense for all parties.
- Liverpool Striving to Achieve Unprecedented Turnaround
- Carragher Knows Something Special is Happening in Liverpool
- Sterling: "Working to Make the Dream a Reality"
- Rodgers Puts the Pressure on Chelsea and Manchester City
- Race for the Title: Chelsea Lose Control of Their Destiny, Arsenal Battle Everton for Fourth