Arsenal wait as Liverpool’s Reina hints at exit
ARSENAL’S hunt for a new goalkeeper took a shock twist this week after Liverpool’s Pepe Reina admitted he may be willing to quit the Merseyside club.
The 28-year-old shot-stopper, who has not won a trophy with the Reds since 2006, ruled out a move to Spain – adding he would stay at Liverpool “at least until the end of the season”.
The Spaniard refused to confirm his future beyond that, and his comments are sure to interest Arsene Wenger, who has long been an admirer and the Gunners boss may now be tempted to put in a bid during the January transfer window.
Reina 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.”
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Arsenal’s own goalkeeping problems were brought back to the fore once again at the weekend, with Lukasz Fabianski making another high-profile error which gifted Newcastle three points at the Emirates.
That has only fuelled the pressure on Wenger to sign a new No1. So far the manager has retained his faith in Fabianski and Manuel Almunia, turning down the chance to sign Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer and Manchester City’s Shay Given.
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Meanwhile, there was less positive news for Wenger this week when midfielder Ibrahim Afellay, one of Arsenal’s long-term transfer targets, announced he may be on the verge of joining Barcelona.
Wenger was confident of signing Afellay for free, after the attacking midfielder revealed he had no intention of signing a new deal with his current club PSV Eindhoven.
He can sign a pre-contract agreement with a club in the January transfer window, and until this week Arsenal had seemed set to stave off interest from Manchester United and Liverpool to secure the 24-year-old’s services.
But that move may now be scuppered, with the Catalan giants moving quickly to sneak in ahead of Wenger, and Afellay appeared to confirm contact had been made between the clubs.
Afellay told Spanish Sport newspaper: “I still don’t know what my future holds because there are many options. But I think there have been contacts between Barcelona and PSV.
“[Barcelona] is a fantastic club, a club that everybody knows, a team that plays very attractive football and that is the greatest out there.
“But I insist that I know nothing yet about my future. All I can do is continue training as usual and playing the best I know with my team, which is still PSV.”