Liverpool boss Rodgers confirms Reina wanted to leave

According to the Liverpool Echo, Brendan Rodgers has said that it was goalkeeper Pepe Reina’s desire to join Barcelona which led to him deciding to sign Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet this summer, thus replacing the Spaniard as first-choice between the posts.

Reina is moving to Napoli on a season-long loan to link up with former boss Rafael Benitez, with 25-year-old Mignolet brought in to replace him, after eight years as a virtual ever-present.

Barcelona showed interest in Reina earlier this summer and were willing to pay £9m but they retracted their interest after their current custodian, Victor Valdes, decided to see out his contract rather than leave this summer.

And after Reina expressed his wish to return to Spain, Rodgers moved quickly to sign a replacement in Mignolet, who impressed consistently in his three seasons with the Black Cats.

During a press conference in the Thai capital, Bangkok, Rodgers explained how he could not keep Reina as second choice next season. He explained: “In terms of us as a football club, it was obviously a difficult decision but it’s one from last season. As manager I was led to believe we were going to get an offer for Pepe Reina that would probably see him leave the club.

But as Reina eventually did not join Barcelona, once Mignolet was signed, Rodgers was left with no option but to allow him to move. He added: “As events transpired, Pepe’s move didn’t quite happen and that left us with two very good goalkeepers. Both would have been fighting for the No 1 position. An opportunity then arose for Pepe that we felt as a football club was probably best for him.

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