The end of the transfer window is threatening to get ugly for Napoli, but they’re not going to lose their battles without a fight. With Paris Saint-Germain lurking for Pepe Reina, Napoli are going to play hardball, demanding that the French side pay €15 million for the goalkeeper.
That’s more than double the offer that they reportedly made several days ago, worth €5 million up front with another €2 million in incentives, plus a season-long loan of young — but disappointing — goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. Napoli rejected that deal out of hand, and instead told PSG they’d have to pay a much higher fee in straight up-front cash, a fee well out of scope for a keeper of Reina’s age and declining ability.
It’s likely meant as a way to scare PSG off, but also to give them the security to have extra cash in hand should they need to move fast for another replacement goalkeeper. There have been unconfirmed reports that Reina has demanded Napoli let him go to PSG, something that may seem shocking but isn’t completely out of step with the way Reina’s relationship with Liverpool broke down several years ago.
There’s also been some rumors over the last day that this is a stunt to try to force Napoli to give him the long-term contract he wants instead of his current deal that runs out this season. That’s a bold and risky gambit for Reina, because Aurelio De Laurentiis isn’t known for blinking under such pressure, and he knows as well as anyone that giving big, long-term money to an aging goalkeeper not named Gianluigi Buffon is a bad, bad idea.
This has the feeling of a situation that’s either going to blow out harmlessly, or spiral into something very ugly. Either way, cross your fingers and hope for the best.