Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has reportedly offered his services to former club Barcelona as replacement for the out-bound Claudio Bravo.
Spanish publication Sport have revealed on Tuesday that Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has offered himself to his former club Barcelona, with Claudio Bravo set to leave Nou Camp to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. The report states that the former Liverpool goalkeeper has established direct contact with Barcelona in an attempt to convince the hierarchy that he is the best alternative to Claudio Bravo, as the club has been linked with a move for Valencia’s Diego Alves.
Jose Manuel ‘Pepe’ Reina Paez started his senior career with Barcelona’s C side before finally making his league debut for Barcelona’s senior squad in the 2000-01 season. The 33-year-old went on to make 30 league appearances over two seasons before making the switch to fellow La Liga club Villarreal and then to Liverpool, where he went on to make a mammoth 285 Premier League appearances.
Reina excelled at Liverpool, winning three consecutive ‘Golden Gloves’, for the 2005-05, 2006-07 and the 2007-08 seasons, while also being named Liverpool’s Player of the Season for 2009-10. The Spanish international moved to Germany, joining Bayern Munich, before making the switch to Napoli last season. Reina was ever-present for the club in the previous campaign, starting 37 of the 38 Serie A matches, and played an important part in Napoli’s qualification to the Champions League.
This is not the first time Reina has offered his services to Barcelona. The Napoli goalkeeper had done the same last season, when Claudio Bravo was speculated to depart from the club. Reina has a good relationship with the staff at Nou Camp and current manager Luis Enrique, which could be a deciding factor in Barcelona’s ultimate choice for a goalkeeper to replace Claudio Bravo, whose move to Manchester City looks almost done.
Sport have reported that Reina is likely to agree to taking a pay-cut to join Barcelona, something which Diego Alves might not agree to.
The decision to become second choice at Barcelona instead of playing Champions League with Napoli seems rather bizarre. It may very well be down to Pepe Reina’s wish to end his career at Barcelona or at the very least, return for a second spell at the club, where he wasn’t given a real chance to show his full potential early in his career. The player is very well acquainted with the club’s surroundings and would have no problem in finding his feet at Nou Camp.