Newcastle United managed an immediate return back to the Premier League in a grand manner by clinching the Championship silverware as they leapfrogged Brighton & Hove Albion right in the end.
Despite getting demoted in what was a melancholic campaign, the Magpies didn’t let their spirit and morale wither away and Rafael Benitez masterminded what proved to be a thoroughly productive season for the team.
The former Real Madrid manager is an experienced customer and isn’t unfamiliar with the animosity which the English top flight would have on offer for his side next season. Beefing up his squad with quality names would be of paramount importance for him in order to establish a strong footing in the league as they come up against the elite clubs of the country. Thus, we are likely to see them acquiring the signatures of proven Premier League veterans who could inject steel into the club.
One of the players to have found a place in the wish-list of Newcastle United is Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina. The Spaniard is about to enter into the last year of his contract at Stadio San Paolo and is has been reported that he has rejected an extension with the Light Blues.
This is where Benitez’s outfit have entered into the equation as the Geordies are keeping a close eye on the developments of his contract and their chances of luring him to St. James’ Park.
Reina mustered an impressive season in Serie A, making 71 saves and accumulating 12 clean sheets in 33 appearances. It is perceived that a goalkeeper reaches his prime in his 30s and the Spaniard hasn’t begged to differ for his quick reflexes, incredible distribution and excellent positioning sense make him an appealing commodity.
The 34-year-old has already worked under the tutelage of Benitez in the past whilst plying his trade for Liverpool in Premier League and Napoli in the Serie A.
With the experience, calibre and class he would bring to the Toon, he would certainly hand them the momentum they would need next term. While the 57-year-old manager already has four goalkeepers under his command, namely, Tim Krul, Rob Elliot, Karl Darlow and Matz Sels, and thus, if a reunion of Benitez and Reina actually materialises, we could witness as many as two goalkeepers leaving the Tyneside over the course of the summer transfer window.
Statistics Credits: Squawka