Why Aston Villa should quickly wrap up a deal for AC Milan’s Pepe Reina
According to a report from The Sun, Aston Villa have held talks with AC Milan goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
The Villans boss Dean Smith has been forced to dip into the transfer market for a new goalkeeper after Tom Heaton was ruled out for the rest of the season through injury. He now wants to bring in Pepe Reina, who has struggled to get game time in Milan this season, the report adds.
The Spanish shot-stopper, 37, has played just once this season, in the 2-1 Serie A win away to Genoa, as he sits below Gianluigi Donnarumma in the pecking order. The veteran is out of contract at Milan in the summer and his last shot for first-team football could be a move to Aston Villa.
Aston Villa are facing a battle to avoid relegation this season, sitting just one point above the drop zone. Despite investing heavily in improving the squad before the start of the season, Smith’s men have struggled to cope with the demands of Premier League football.
And injuries haven’t helped the Villans’ cause, with key players such as John McGinn, Wesley Moraes and Tom Heaton becoming long-term casualties.
Heaton, signed from Burnley in the summer of 2019, has been one of the very few consistent performers in an otherwise disappointing top-flight return for Aston Villa. The England international’s long-term injury has come as a big blow for Smith’s side, particularly at a crucial juncture.
Reina could be a smart short-term replacement for Heaton. The Spaniard spent nine years in the Premier League with Liverpool between 2005 and 2014, winning four trophies.
He has also represented clubs like Bayern Munich and Napoli, featuring 182 times for the Serie A outfit. But since joining Milan in the 2018-19 season, the 37-year-old has played just five times in the league – 13 in total.
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The 36-cap former Spain international would add some much-needed experience and stability to Villa’s goalkeeping set up since he understands what it takes to succeed at this level. Reina’s leadership skills and the ability to keep his defence organised would make him so valuable for Smith’s men.
It is hard to overlook Villa’s lack of goalkeeping options and someone like Reina, though well past his prime at 37, could come through the door as a reliable goalkeeper to cover and compete with Orjan Nyland.
To that end, a move for the Spaniard, who is a veteran of more than 800 career appearances across six elite European clubs, would definitely make a lot of sense.