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No Napoli Deal in the Works for Reina

Despite Napoli's desire to secure Pepe Reina's services for next season, the goalkeeper and his agent are insisting no talks have begun and that the player will return to Liverpool this summer.

Giuseppe Bellini

It was always perhaps inevitable that, rather than signalling an end to the interminable Pepe Reina saga, statements by Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis that Napoli would like to keep the shot stopper on beyond the end of the season would only lead to more drawn out talk about Pepe Reina's future. Much of that talk would seem likely to focus on wages given Reina would have to take a hefty pay cut to extend his stay in Italy.

Currently, Napoli and Liverpool share the goalkeeper's £4.16M (€5M) salary, and it is rumoured that while Napoli would like to keep the Spaniard on and are willing to make a deal with Liverpool, they see half that amount—or a fee roughly equal to the portion of Reina's salary they're currently paying—as the right wage. Reina's agent, though, insists any such talk is premature as no conversations about his client remaining in Naples have even begun.

"We have not even spoken with Napoli about his future yet," insisted Manuel Garcia Quilon when he was asked about whether or not his client would be willing to take a pay cut to get a deal done by Tutto Napoli. "I am not saying it is not going to happen, but as of now at least there are no talks going on—we haven't started negotiations over Reina's future with Napoli yet."

It appears increasingly likely despite Napoli's desire to get a deal done, the goalkeeper isn't in a rush to make things permanent. Along with his agent's attempts to cool talk of a deal being in the works, Reina has said that any hoped for resolution will have to wait until the summer, perhaps suggesting that despite Barcelona's transfer ban and desire to sign Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Reina may still hold out hope for a return to Catalonia.

"I will give my all for the shirt and then at the end of the year I'll have to go back to Liverpool, then we'll talk," was the goalkeeper's take on the matter. "My family are happy here, and the people of Naples are similar to those in Southern Spain, so it's nice to live here. Unfortunately I have to go back to Liverpool first and then we will decide our future."

Given Napoli's stated interest it seems clear he doesn't actually have to come back to Liverpool in the summer and that he is instead choosing to do so in the hopes it leads to either more money or a move to somewhere other than Napoli. So. So much for hopes of an easy and borderline dignified end to what has so far been a messy and hugely distasteful saga that continues to damage Reina's Liverpool legacy.

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