The news that Arsenal are looking to sign Pepe Reina might have been good news in 2008, when they were have a goalkeeping crisis after the departure of the influential Jens Lehmann. Right now, it is more a luxury rather than a necessity and signing the 31-year-old Spanish keeper might not be the best move, considering that there are other areas of the squad that are in need of some rejuvenation.
Since Jens Lehmann left in the summer of 2008, Arsenal struggled to cope without a solid goalkeeper. Manuel Almunia, Wojciech Szczęsny, Łukasz Fabiański and Vito Mannone were all tried at various points since then without too much success. The 2013/14 season changed all of that as Szczesny started as the designated Number 1 and finally started to fulfil the potential that Arsene Wenger saw before signing him from Legia Warsaw in 2006.
With the 24-year-old Polish shot-stopper in such fine form, it wouldn’t make too much sense to sign another top keeper, especially one who is seven years and is the third-choice for his country in Brazil. In any case, should Arsene Wenger decide to beef up the goalkeeping department, Reina would make a very good number two indeed. So let us look at whether Reina would be a good move for the Gunners or not.
First things first, as far as ability is concerned Reina is no doubt, still one of the finest keepers in Europe. The arrival of Simon Mignolet last summer forced him to move to Naples, where has enjoyed a wonderful campaign, playing under his old boss Rafa Benitez. The Spanish keeper’s exploits last time around were enough to stake a claim in Spain’s World Cup squad. Even though, he is unlikely to play, it still shows that he is up there with the best.
Another reason why he would be a good move for Arsenal, will be the fact that not only is he an experienced keeper, but he also has plenty of experience of keeping in the Premier League, from his time at Liverpool. One of the main things a lot of keepers struggle with, is the physicality of the league and given that Reina is used to that and was one of the best keepers in the League, he would make for a great addition.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, he won’t be cheap. The 31-year-old Spaniard has time and again expresses his desire to stay with Napoli, but the fact that the club weren’t able to meet the demands set by Liverpool is one of the main reasons why Arsenal are even in the running for the Spanish shot-stopper. Given the need for some reinforcements in midfield and in attack, Arsene Wenger is unlikely to splash the cash on a keeper, who is only going to be second-choice at the club, even if he does arrive.
Even if Arsene Wenger decides to bring the Spanish keeper to Arsenal, given the fee involved, Reina would want to be Number one. And that would almost certainly stunt the growth of Sczcesny who is only now starting to show the Gunners that they were right to keep the faith.
Although his experience would bring a lot to Arsenal, his move would only be possible with a guaranteed first-team place and a huge fee, neither of which Arsenal would be willing to meet. As a result, the World Cup and European Championship winning keeper looks set to return back to Anfield, destined to warm the bench. Should Arsenal decide to change his destiny, it would be a bad move indeed.