There may be yet further twists in the future of Pepe Reina.
Last Thursday, the matter appeared to have been settled when Manuel Garcia Quilon, the player’s agent, announced that the goalkeeper would be staying at Napoli until his contract ended in June 2018.
This had followed Gazzetta dello Sport and beIN Sports journalist, Tancredi Palmeri, reporting that Newcastle had agreed personal terms with Pepe Reina, and that it was simply a case of the former Liverpool keeper deciding on whether to stay at Napoli or move to Tyneside.
However, Wednesday brings news of a further development, with RAI reporting that Napoli had offered an extended two year contract but on lower wages.
The offer was rejected and RAI say that Napoli had planned to announce the new deal on Tuesday and the club’s hierarchy were furious when the goalkeeper wouldn’t agree to the new deal.
The Italian TV station says that the player and club are now at an impasse, with Pepe Reina insisting on 60,000 euros ((approx £52,000) a week wages and the club refusing to get anywhere near close to that figure.
RAI also report that despite the keeper set to turn 35 in August, they want 5m euros (around £4.3m) if Newcastle or any other club did want to sign him.
If Pepe Reina simply sees out the last year of his contract, he would then of course be a free agent and Napoli would receive nothing – which is obviously why they want him to agree to the contract extension – get another season out of the keeper AND then bank a fee in summer 2018.
With Newcastle paying £5m for the likes of Grant Hanley to act as defensive cover in the Championship and £4m on 33 year old striker Daryl Murphy to do the same up front, you can’t imagine the transfer fee or wages would deter Rafa Benitez if Reina does decide to leave.
Summer of 2014 saw the keeper move from Liverpool to Bayern Munich but after only a handful of appearances he was sold to Napoli in 2015 on a three year contract and helped the Serie A club to a third place finish this past season and qualification to the Champions League.
Rafa signed Pepe Reina for Liverpool from Villarreal back in 2005, a perfect example of how ruthless he can be when making decisions regarding improving his team/squad.
Less than two months earlier, Jerzy Dudek had been the hero in Istanbul, as Rafa and Liverpool lifted the Champions League trophy.
However, Pepe Reina was brought in to be instant first choice for the following season, with Dudek relegated to the bench.
The 2013/14 season saw Rafa Benitez and his former keeper reunited, Reina going to Napoli on loan from Liverpool for the season and they won the Coppa Italia.
You will probably have seen the quotes below from Rafa about his former keeper and they were taken from an interview the Newcastle Manager gave to Italian media in early May, before the later post-season speculation about Newcastle interest.
“I have a great personal relationship with Pepe Reina – he is a great goalkeeper.
“Pepe is a great player, but above all, he is a leader in the dressing room.
“We missed him at Napoli in the year he went to Bayern Munich and he can make a difference both on and off the pitch.
“Would I take him to Newcastle if he left?
“I respect Napoli, as that is where he is, and our club (Newcastle) has a lot of goalkeepers who are doing well.
“We need to be calm, we’ll talk to the club and decide on our targets.”