Liverpool goal keeper Pepe Reina has moved a step closer to severing all ties with the Reds, as the Spaniard looks all set to join Spanish champions Barcelona next season.
The 31-year-old goal keeper is currently plying his trade under former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez as Napoli, but reports in Spanish press and in Italy indicate that he will move to the Camp Nou at the end of the current season.
Reina joined Liverpool from Villarreal in 2005 and spent eight years at the club, amassing more than a hundred clean sheets in his 285 games for the Merseysiders.
The Spain international, who is a world cup and double European Championship winner, is now likely to replace another Spaniard Victor Valdes, whose contract expires at the end of the season for the Catalan giants.
Barcelona have been tracking Reina for some time now, and he was strongly linked with a move this summer too. After some subtle flirtations, his agent confirmed that Reina would stay at Liverpool, but the Reds manager Brendan Rodgers chose not to take the risk and signed Simon Mignolet from Sunderland instead, pushing Reina out the door albeit temporarily.
Although Rodgers has said that Reina still has a future at Liverpool, but it has become day light clear that the Spaniard doesn’t feature in the long term plans of the Reds manager.
Further, Mignolet has been nothing short of sensational this season, with his heroics in each of the three matches, the Belgian has helped Liverpool keep clean sheets in all of their league matches so far. And, if Mignolet continues to prosper, then Reina’s chances of returning to the club and secure a place is nothing but a day-dream.
It was reported yesterday that Barcelona are targeting Thibaut Courtois, but it seems highly unlikely that Chelsea will part ways with the highly talented keeper, who is seen as a long term replacement for Petr Cech.
As it stands, a move to Barcelona, a club where Reina started his career, would be ideal for all parties involved.