Newcastle United want to sign Pepe Reina according to the club’s official media partner.
Speculation has been rife over the past week and now The Mirror say that the keeper is a key part of Rafa Benitez’ transfer strategy this summer, as he prepares for Premier League football.
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.
Summer of 2014 saw the keeper move permanently to Bayern Munich but after only a handful of appearances he was sold to Napoli in 2015 on a three year contract.
The Mirror report that Pepe Reina is understood to be unhappy at the Serie A club despite a third place finish this past season and qualification to the Champions League, the keeper uncertain about his future with only a year remaining on his contract.
Pepe Reina’s agent Manuel Garcia Quilon has now travelled to Naples for talks about the goalkeeper’s future amid reports of Rafa Benitez wanting to be reunited with the keeper once again.
Reina turns 35 in August but having constantly played at a high level, he would surely be a great signing if Rafa can pull this deal off.
Whatever qualities you may think the likes of Elliot, Darlow and Krul may have, the Spaniard is surely on another level.
If the keeper feels like moving on and Napoli are happy for that to happen, you would have to think that Rafa will be able to persuade Pepe Reina to join his Newcastle project.
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 this latest 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.”