The incredible saga of Pepe Reina began a few weeks ago, just over a week after the Championship season ended. He was one of the first players Newcastle had been linked to, and it seemed to make sense. Reina played under Rafa at Liverpool and at Napoli, and was coming off another solid season with Napoli in which he amassed 12 clean sheets to go along with his 86 saves. Fans began to drum up excitement to have the old Spaniard come to Northeast England, he has the experience, he’s still got the talent, and he is probably going to be cheap because of his age. Like the majority of great moves for this great club we support, this one too vanished into thin air.
Last Thursday Reina’s agent Manuel Garcia Quilon, said that Reina would be staying at Napoli until 2018. This broke the hearts of fans, especially after notable Italian Soccer corespondent Tancredi Palmeri tweeted that a deal was in place that would send Reina on his way to Newcastle earlier that day.
Newcastle have found agreement on personal terms with Reina. Only thing to solve is Reina still not certain whether to leave Napoli or not— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) June 1, 2017
Palmer was a trusted source for fans because, well...he knew a little too much about Reina. He had a lot of tweets surrounding the future of Reina, including this one, which he believed was the key moment that would let Reina land in Newcastle’s open arms.
Unbelievable for Pepe Reina. At club's dinner, Napoli president jokes about his nightlife, Reina's wife leaves the table, Pepe follows— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) May 25, 2017
After last Thursday’s stab in the heart by Quilon, Newcastle fans and journalists began focusing on other potential transfer targets that would eventually fail such as Ruben Semedo. Reina was simply another lost cause in the battle to regain proper Premier League status.
However, Reina made headlines and gave hope to some Newcastle fans when reports surfaced Wednesday that he was not happy with the extension Napoli offered him. Italian news outlet RAI broke the story that Reina was offered a two year extension, but with lower wages.
This of course is not what anyone who is trying to get themselves an extension wants, and obviously Reina’s camp was not happy with the deal. The offer was of course rejected, which surprised nobody except Napoli themselves. With RAI saying that Napoli officials are extremely upset with Reina, and had planned to announce the extension this past Tuesday.
Currently Reina and Napoli’s negations are at a deadlock with the club refusing to accept the 34 year old’s 60,000 Euros a week wage demand.
Reina is set to be a free agent at the end of the season, which means that Napoli either need to lock up an extension for him or sell him this window. Napoli have apparently set a price of 5 million Euros (about 4.3 million pounds) for the keeper, even though he is set to turn 35 before the 2017 season begins.
The transfer fee is not something that should worry Newcastle fans, as Newcastle are planning on splashing the cash this summer, and Rafa has already demonstrated that he is willing to pay 4-5 million pounds for older ‘experienced’ players (we are looking at you Daryl Murphy)
Fans should worry about Reina’s steep wage demands though. With Reina looking at roughly £52,000 a week for an extension, you would have to imagine that a new deal would inherently be even more expensive. This bodes trouble for the other 4 keepers Newcastle already have under contract. This move would likely send two of them either on loan or being sold in order to cover the cost of Reina.
The Reina saga apparently is not over, and right now all we can do is watch and see how this drama unfolds. Will Reina be wearing a Newcastle shirt this August, or will he still be sipping espresso in Italy? What do you think?