According to a report by The Sun, Rafael Benitez is keen on landing Napoli custodian, Pepe Reina, in the ongoing January transfer window. The Spaniard wants to have a reunion with the shot-stopper with whom he worked during his time as the Liverpool manager and has placed Reina at the top of his wish-list for this window, despite having Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot in his ranks.
Benitez ensured the promotion of the Magpies to the top flight, by winning the Championship silverware last season but there is a feeling that Benitez will have no qualms in walking away from the job if he is not supported by Mike Ashley in the transfer window.
It is understood that Newcastle United have £10million and £100,000-a-week wages to spend on Reina and besides the goalkeeper, signing a striker on loan is also a priority for the former Real Madrid manager. The Serie A giants are likely to hold out for more than £10million for Reina and given that he is currently on a major salary structure, Benitez might have to coax more funds out of the club in order to get his man.
Despite being a 35-year-old, Reina is still a respected goalkeeper in the game and has been regularly used by Napoli this season. In 19 appearances, he has collected 9 clean sheets and has made 1.37 saves per game on an average. He is someone who has truckloads of experience under his belt, having plied his trade with Barcelona, Liverpool and Villareal as well.
The Toon are currently placed at the 15th spot in the Premier League table with 23 points to their name from 23 games. The axe of relegation is dangerously hovering above them and it goes without saying that they might face devastating consequences at the end of the season if they don’t make the necessary additions in the ongoing transfer window to ensure safety.
Benitez’s admiration for the Spanish international isn’t a secret and given that his contract is set to expire at the end of the season, the Light Blues might be tempted to sanction his move to Newcastle United so that they do not lose him for free at the end of the season.
And though some feel Newcastle United might have more pressing issues in other areas of the pitch, it looks like the confusion around the No.1 keeping spot is something the respected manager wants to end and he feels Reina will be the leader they need in the business end of the season.
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