According to reports in The Sun on Sunday, Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is ready to reignite his interest in Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina before the transfer window slams shut, with his contract that is due to run out at the end of the season unlikely to be extended as the Italian club refuse to offer him the new €2.5m-a-year (approximately £43,000-a-week) deal that he wants.
Well, The Sun on Sunday says that Benitez has wanted his former Liverpool and Napoli goalkeeper since the summer, and has been frustrated that he hasn’t been able to bring him to St James’ Park to be their new number one.
The Sun on Sunday says that the Spanish boss is banking on Magpies owner Mike Ashley being forced into the deal in order to stop him walking away as the Tyneside outfit’s manager, with £10m available to spend on a new stopper.
The report adds that Benitez wants more as he believes the Serie A outfit will hold out for a bigger fee even though his deal is running out, while the 35-year-old is also on a big salary.
He has done well.
The Spaniard continues to be Napoli’s number one goalkeeper, and he has made 27 appearances in all competitions for them this term, keeping 12 clean sheets and conceding 24 goals.
The latest of those shut-outs came in a 2-0 victory against Chievo Verona last weekend, which kept them top of Serie A and one point clear of Juventus.
He certainly would be.
The 35-year-old has bundles of experience at the very highest level, and he can certainly be relied upon having in the Premier League having played for Liverpool previously.
Benitez is obviously still unsure about Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow given they have rotated at points this season, and it seems as though he would like to replace them with a more trustworthy goalkeeper like Reina.
Considering he is the first-choice stopper for a club that is competing for the Serie A title you wouldn’t think so, unless Newcastle offer them a fee that they are unable to turn down for a player of his age who only has six months left on his contract.
Given that he could win a trophy with Napoli, it may also be difficult to convince the Spaniard to come to St James’ Park to join a relegation battle, and a move may well be more likely in the summer if the Magpies stay up.
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