Is it really that much of a surprise that we’re unlikely to see Pepe Reina in a Liverpool shirt again? Wasn’t it more or less accepted that he would go to Barcelona and play back up to Marc-Andre ter Stegen after this summer’s impending departures of Victor Valdes and Jose Pinto?
The letter which Reina published is a useful tool in Brendan Rodgers’s argument that he doesn’t want the Spanish goalkeeper back at Anfield. It’s useful because it gives the Liverpool manager an excuse that can be made sense of. Because what it boils down to is that Reina, at Liverpool, is not the player he once was. And with Simon Mignolet performing as well as he has done this season, why would the club feel a need to have another option who offers no guarantees of success when playing?
There’s also the financial aspect of it. Reina, surely, is on big wages, meaning Liverpool have even greater need for wanting to move him on permanently. Even if he has managed to clear his head completely from the struggles of the past during this loan spell at Napoli, Liverpool have clearly moved on by signing a replacement who is showing little sign of being a hindrance to their top four and title-winning aspirations.
For Liverpool, and even if they were to consider Reina a good addition to the squad in the coming seasons, do have to take into account that the player more or less burnt his bridges with the club. His loan move to Italy was portrayed as a permanent goodbye to Anfield, making clear that he saw his future elsewhere, most likely in La Liga.
Rodgers and Liverpool have already turned around the mindset or a disruptive voice in Luis Suarez, who did little to hold back during the summer when he expressed a desire to leave. But Suarez is a far greater asset to have than Reina, not least because the club have already landed on a good enough replacement, Mignolet, who still has years ahead of him to improve.
It’s not the best way to depart the club considering how well liked he was, but Liverpool, much more than Reina, do have enough weight behind them in wanting to part on a permanent basis with the player.