Anfield goalkeeper in ultimatum to club.
Liverpool tickets available from Tixdaq.com
Pepe Reina dropped a shock hint last night that he would consider quitting Liverpool.
And Reina, one of Liverpool’s three world-class players alongside Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, intriguingly added he will not return to Spain if he leaves.
Reina’s comments will put rival clubs on alert, particularly Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.
Reina, 28, who has not won a trophy since the FA Cup in 2006, said: ‘I signed a six-year deal seven months ago and I’m happy at the club, but every footballer wants to be competing for trophies and winning things.
‘I will stay at Liverpool at least until the end of the season. I know there are rumours about me leaving but I want to make it clear that I have no intention of going back to Spain.’
Reina also hinted that previous manager Rafael Benitez’s departure in the summer had not left him overly happy.
‘Rafael Benitez was an essential person for this club and the reason I came to Liverpool,’ he said. (Daily Mail)
Reina states his current feelings clearly enough: “I am happy at the club.”
However, the words that follow mean that what he is essentially doing is making demands of his fellow team-mates and manager. Keep up the good performances and results and he will stay, but otherwise he will consider his future.
Having said that, after the end of this season Pepe Reina will have five years remaining on his contract. Yet he will consider leaving if the team is not in contention for trophies?
In that kind of situation – much like Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal – the player ought not to have committed to such a long term contract if he had any intention of leaving.
The most interesting line that the Daily Mail pick up on though, is that he will not consider moving back to Spain, and should Liverpool fail to keep up their impressive recent form, two of their fiercest rivals have goalkeeper issues that need resolving.
Arsenal have not had a reliable goalkeeper since Jens Lehmann – though he had his eccentric moments – and though Lukasz Fabianski has had a brief period of good play, against Newcastle it was his rush of blood to the head that cost Arsenal the only goal of the match.
Manchester United meanwhile have the problem of how to replace Edwin Van Der Sar. The Dutchman has recently turned 40, and is still a magnificent player, but cannot go on forever.
However, given how at home Reina appears to feel in Liverpool it would be an unusual move to say the least. After all, this is a player who upon signing his new contract said, “It’s probably the best news of my life that I’ll be here for the next six years. Me and my family are really happy here.
“To play for Liverpool is very special. I’ve been here for five years and now I will be here for six more and it’s very exciting.
“It’s very important that my family love it here as well, as family life is just as important as my career.
“My wife told me from the beginning she was more than happy here.
“My kids enjoy it and they have picked up the Scouse accent already. I am really proud of that. In the years ahead they will speak much more Scouse too.”
Liverpool are not doing much worse this season than they finished in the last campaign, and have plenty of time to be challenging for the top places by next May. Could the replacement of Rafa Benitez by Roy Hodgson really have had that much of an effect on the player?