Barring some miracle chain of events in the next season, I believe Pepe Reina has already played his last game in goal for Liverpool.

The Spaniard, who moved to Anfield from Villarreal in 2005, has struggled since the 2010/11 season and was occasionally found on the bench last year with Australian Brad Jones in goal, even when Reina was fully fit.

That prompted manager Brendan Rodgers to pay £9 million for Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet and the Belgian will take Reina's place this campaign.

The estimated £110,000 per week that Reina was earning was, therefore, far too much to be paying a player on the bench, which stimulated a loan deal with Napoli, where Reina will be reunited with who he claims is, "the best manager I have ever worked with," in Rafa Benitez.

That the Spaniard so blatantly stated his preference for his compatriot to current Anfield gaffer Brendan Rodgers will not make it easy for Reina to make a return to the Liverpool first-team when the loan deal is up.

Reina, however, doesn't seem to want to return.

In an unusual move, Reina released an open goodbye letter to Liverpool fans on his personal website. Given that he is only supposed to be away on loan, a goodbye statement didn't seem necessary, but not if his move away is actually more than temporary.

The Spanish keeper does say at one point that: "I would like nothing better than to come back at the end of my year away."

That line seems more like wishful thinking, though, with Reina clearly offended by the actions of the club and not expecting a second chance.

He criticises the way the club management organised his loan to the Serie A runners-up, saying: "But if I have one regret, it is the way that I am leaving. It is only natural that I would be disappointed that the Liverpool management agreed to loan me to Napoli without telling me first, I thought that I deserved better than that even though I understand that difficult decisions have to be taken in football."

Reina doesn't expect an Anfield return in a year's time and if the Liverpool hierarchy really did send him to Italy before advising him - not to mention the fact that they have found an impressive replacement in Mignolet - then a return will not happen.

That could work out perfectly for Reina, who has made no secret of the fact that he would be honoured should Barcelona come calling when Victor Valdes leaves the Camp Nou next summer.

Reina's outspoken desire to replace his international teammate caused further tension this past season, although Reina argued that Barcelona was the only team he would want to leave for.

If new Barça boss Gerardo Martino does enquire about Reina next summer, Liverpool would surely accept any offer that sees Reina leave before the end of his contract, which is up in June 2016.

The Spaniard may even find himself staying on at Napoli should Barcelona look elsewhere. His relationship with Benitez and the prospect of further Champions League football would be two great reasons to stay.

So whether in a Barcelona, Napoli or some other club's shirt, Pepe Reina will almost certainly not be at Anfield this time next summer.

 

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Topics:
#Premier League
#Liverpool
#Jose Reina
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