With the summer transfer season looming, the majority of the stories in the media right now are about transfers. And while we’d all love to have Napoli only add good players and only sell bad ones, rumors will always link some of Napoli’s better players with departures. Such is the case with Pepe Reina, but news out of Naples this week indicates that instead of fleeing the club, he’s staying put.
The interest comes from Newcastle United, newly promoted to the Premier League after a year in the second-tier Championship. They’re managed by ex-Napoli boss Rafa Benitez, who helped bring Reina to Naples originally and who had a great relationship with the Spanish netminder back when the pair were at Liverpool.
But these days Reina’s heart is with Napoli, though a situation between he and Aurelio De Laurentiis recently made some think he’d want to leave. During Napoli’s end-of-season team dinner, De Laurentiis made several jokes about Reina’s performances in goal, and the goalkeeper and his wife left the party apparently fairly angry. That lead to the departure rumors, and then a visit from Reina to meet with De Laurentiis to clear the air.
Apparently that conversation went well, because afterwards Reina’s agent declared that he’ll be seeing out his contract, which expires at the end of the coming season. Reina turns 35 this summer, so this may actually be his last season before retiring, or potentially returning to Spain to spend his sunset seasons closer to home.
Regardless, it will be good to see Reina in goal for Napoli for one more season, though the club still needs to consider signing his long-term replacement this summer if at all possible. In the meantime, though, he’ll continue to be “fundamental” to the club and its success, according to Maurizio Sarri.