Could Napoli leave Arsenal path to Cesar open as Benitez target's old boy?

Pepe Reina

Rafa Benitez reportedly wants Pepe Reina as a deal for Julio Cesar falters.

Yesterday Aurelio De Laurentiis, the colourful club president of Serie A outfit Napoli, insisted a deal for Julio Cesar to arrive at the club from QPR was well and truly still on; he even went as so far to suggest an announcement could have been made last night.

But as my head grew weary from a warm day and hectic schedule I decided went to sleep Thursday evening still not knowing what the future held for the Brazilian number one stopper.

But I also had another thought racing through my brain when I read what had been reported by Neapolitan radio station Radio Kiss Kiss. They suggested yesterday evening that the deal for Cesar had gone cold and that instead Rafa Benitez would be looking at an old custodian of his to fill the void; Pepe Reina.

So how likely is this?

Well Napoli won’t be signing Cesar on loan if Harry Redknapp gets his way. He has made it clear that a club who has just sold a striker for £55 million will not have the opportunity to loan a player they could afford to buy.

And, for once, Harry has a point.

So Napoli could instead sign the stopper?

However Cesar has made it clear he would like to live in London; with a move to Arsenal considered his preferred destination.

So there is certainly every possibility that a deal for Julio Cesar to return to Italy could be running on empty.

And what about Pepe Reina? The Spaniard has been linked with Barcelona and Arsenal this summer while his association with Benitez has been ignored previously.

Benitez signed Reina from Villarreal in 2005 and with a plan to use talented young Brazilian stopper Rafael, whom Napoli snapped up for £4.4 million last week, as a protégé back-up Reina could be the perfect addition.

Brendan Rodgers insists that Reina is not for sale despite the £9 million arrival of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland this summer. But Reina will not be content with a place on the bench and I for one find it hard to justify signing a big name keeper like the Belgian just to plonk them in the dug-out for a season.

So at the right price I have no doubt that Liverpool would sell the Spanish international.

What does this all mean for Arsenal?

Well if the rumours are true and Napoli have decided to waive their interest in Cesar then the Gunners have a clear path toward signing the 33-year-old bargain.

In fact, I am not sure why they haven’t yet… 

image: © Eric The Fish (2013)

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