Newcastle United could still bring Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina to St James’ Park in the summer despite looking set to miss out on his capture during January, according to a report.
Italian publication Il Mattino claim on their website that the Italian side are not willing to let the 35-year-old shot stopper depart the club midway through the season while they harbour title aspirations, as they currently sit top of Serie A by a single point ahead of European giants Juventus.
The Sun had claimed that the Magpies were willing to table an offer of under £10million for Reina after having failed in a pursuit for his signing over the summer, but the Italian report states that no amount of money would convince Napoli to sell up.
However, it is said that the club are unlikely to offer the veteran a new contract, with his current deal set to expire in this coming summer, and tip Newcastle to secure a bargain capture for his services then.
The 38-cap Spain international has appeared in all but three of Napoli’s matches across all competitions this season, making it 27 appearances under his belt for the campaign and a total of 162 outings for the Italian side in total.
Football Insider verdict
The question Rafael Benitez will be asking himself now is whether to stick or twist over a swoop for Reina. He is obviously the Spanish manager’s first choice target but Napoli are playing hard ball over his departure. At 35-years-old the Italian side know he does not have much time left in the sport and as a result appear unlikely to offer him a new contract, meaning he will be available on a free come the summer. However, will that be too late for the Magpies, who are facing a relegation battle during the second half of the season? It is a difficult situation, but if Benitez is desperately seeking a new shot stopper, then maybe he will have to move on from his fellow countryman and look elsewhere.
In other Newcastle United transfer news, Benitez is set to hold imminent talks over the capture of a top flight speed machine.