Arsenal goalkeeper target Pepe Reina will return to Liverpool next season, according to his agent.
The Spanish international stopper has been heavily linked with a permanent move away from Merseyside, having spent last season on loan at Napoli. Various clubs, including AS Monaco, have been mooted as possible destinations.
However, the 31-year-old is now poised to return the Reds and honour his contract, after Manuel Garcia Quilon revealed that despite the rumours, his client is heading back to Anfield.
"I am aware of the rumours circulating about the future of Reina. But I confirm to you that Pepe will play for Liverpool next season,” he said, according to The Daily Express.
"Reina will respect his contract with the English club.”
Liverpool signed Reina back in 2005, with manager Rafael Benitez spending £8.5million for the player nine years ago. He arrived following the club’s most recent Champions League triumph - a competition they return to this season.
However, the arrival of Simon Mignolet last summer saw the keeper make his move away, with manager Brendan Rodgers making the Belgian international his new number one. That appeared to be the end of the former Barcelona man’s time with the club.
He’s now set to return though, challenging the 26-year-old for a starting spot at Liverpool as they challenge for multiple trophies next season. It would have been the same had he joined their Premier League rivals.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had been linked with a move for Reina, with Arsene Wenger looking to add competition between the sticks. Wojciech Szczesny is the clear number one at the Emirates Stadium, with Lukasz Fabianski and Emiliano Viviano leaving the club this summer.
The Gunners finally ended their nine-year trophy drought last season, winning the FA Cup for the first time since 2005. Wenger’s side will also play Champions League football once again after finishing in the Premier League top four.
Signing Reina would have added some much needed experience in goal at the Emirates Stadium, but the Frenchman will now need to look elsewhere in the remainder of the transfer window. He still has plenty of time on his side, with two months until it slams shut on September 2nd.
For the record, Reina began his career with Barca before making his name at Villarreal between 2002 and 2005. It was his form with the Yellow Submarine that earned him the move to Liverpool, where he was a mainstay throughout.
The arrival of Rodgers saw his fortunes change however, and a move to Arsenal this summer could have completed a possible change in Premier League fortunes. However, he’ll be left to fight it out at Anfield and, most probably, settle for a place on the Reds’ bench next term.
Reina is contracted to Liverpool until 2016.
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