Chelsea's Courtois and Liverpool's Reina on Barcelona shortlist
Barcelona have identified two goalkeepers contracted to Premier League clubs but on loan elsewhere as potential replacements for Victor Valdes, the Daily Express has reported, as Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois and Liverpool’s Pepe Reina come under consideration.
Valdes has said he intends to leave the Catalans at the end of the season, when his current contract expires, and while Barcelona are hopeful of retaining their current No.1, they have started to look around for replacements.
Among the names Barca have considered are Courtois, who has spent the last few seasons with Atletico Madrid, and Reina, who left Anfield for Napoli this summer after the Reds signed Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet.
The current president of Barcelona, Sandro Rosell, confirmed Courtois was a player who has caught their eye - but stressed the club’s preference is that Valdes stays. “[Courtois] is a great goalkeeper, he is very good and I like him a lot,” Rosell said. “Up until the last moment we will try to keep Valdes at Barca, but it will be difficult.”
Reina, meanwhile, is - like Valdes - a graduate of the Barcelona academy and made almost 50 appearances for the first team before moving on in 2002, becoming first choice at Villarreal. From there he transferred to Liverpool in 2005, making nearly 400 appearances for the club.
The 31-year-old admitted he would love to return to Camp Nou, but for the time being was focused on his brief with the Serie A club, Napoli, coached by his old Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez. “It would be great to return to Barcelona,” Reina told Radio Catalunya.
“I am very happy that my name is being mentioned, but my goal right now is to put in a good season with Napoli,” he added. “In the summer we will see. I imagine that they will have spoken to a lot of goalkeepers and will have short-listed a number of them. We will see what happens next year and we will see what happens with Victor Valdes.”
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