Benitez responds to reported Newcastle interest in World Cup winner
By Danny Wright
Rafa Benitez has refused to rule out the possibility of Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina joining Newcastle over the summer.
The Sun have reported that the Magpies are keen on bringing the 34-year-old to St. James’ Park in the upcoming transfer window as they prepare for life back in the Premier League.
Benitez and Reina worked together during his spells as Liverpool and Napoli manager but has suggested that a reunion might not happen due to the number of senior goalkeepers currently on the Newcastle books.
“Pepe is a great player but above all a leader in the dressing room,” said the Toon boss, as quoted by the Daily Star. “We missed him at Napoli in the year he went to Bayern Munich — he can make a difference both on and off the pitch.
“Would I take him to Newcastle if he left?
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“I respect Napoli — as that’s where he is — and our club has a lot of goalkeepers who are doing well.
“We need to be calm, we’ll talk to the club and decide on our targets.”
Newcastle already have Karl Darlow, Rob Elliot and Matz Sels among the ranks while Tim Krul is expected to return to Tyneside following a loan move to Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar.
The Sun has reported that Reina is set to leave Napoli in the near future due to his wife falling out with the Serie A side’s president on social media.
Reina is an experienced goalkeeper who was a part of the 2010 World Cup winning squad with Spain as well as Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga title victory in 2014/15.
He spent nine years with Liverpool and helped them to win the 2006 FA Cup and made 395 appearances for them in all competitions.
The 34-times Spain international played 48 times in both Italian and European football for Napoli this term, keeping 14 clean sheets.
Football Insider Verdict
Newcastle do have some decent goalkeepers currently on the books at St. James’ Park, but none of them have the CV that Reina does and he could walk straight into Benitez’s first-team plans. If Benitez has a great working relationship with the ‘keeper then it could be very beneficial for the squad, especially the defence which definitely needs working on. It would also just be great to see Reina back in the Premier League because he is perhaps one of the better goalkeepers in England over the last decade. A move for him though could spell the ends of Newcastle spells for players like Darlow and Sels who, at their age, cannot be used as a back-up option.
In other Newcastle news, the Magpies are interested in this international winger who has recently been relegated.