How Chelsea could have huge say in future of Liverpool outcast

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina will almost certainly be leaving Anfield in the summer, but could his future hinge on a Chelsea star?

The Spanish international shot-stopper is currently working with his former boss Rafa Benitez whilst on a season-long loan deal with Napoli, and after Reds boss Brendan Rodgers splashed out to bring Simon Mignolet to Anfield last summer, it's almost certain that Reina won't play for Liverpool again. Reina noted that he is happy in Italy for now, and after Mignolet arrived on Merseyside, the club simply didn't want him anymore.

"I'm very happy here and my family's happy too," he said. "I'll be here right to the end, but not even I know what will happen after. I'm here now, but I've got to return to Liverpool, although it's unlikely I'll stay there."

Reina added: "Benitez was the most important figure in me arriving here. He convinced me to join this ambitious project at a great club. Obviously I also wanted to get to know a different league while it was Liverpool who took the first step by not wanting me anymore because they were placing their faith in a younger goalkeeper."

There has been little to suggest that Napoli will make Reina's move permanent, leaving the 31-year-old's future up in the air – but could his next destination hinge on a Chelsea decision?

The Blues have a decision to make this summer as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois returns to Stamford Bridge following a three-year loan spell with Atletico Madrid, and will be expecting to be the Chelsea #1 having established himself as the best young goalkeeper in world football.

There is still a chance that Jose Mourinho could choose to sell Courtois or offer him up in part exchange for Atletico striker Diego Costa, but if Mourinho chooses to either keep the Belgian stopper or sell him to another club, Atletico will need to bring in a replacement goalkeeper – which could put Reina in the frame.

Pepe's father Miguel played for the Madrid side between 1973 and 1980, making over 150 appearances for them and is still considered to be a favourite of the club to this day. In 2009, Miguel commented that his son would be open to a move to the Estadio Vicente Calderon.

"My son would be excited about playing for Atletico Madrid.” he said. “It would be very pleasing to see him playing here (in Madrid)."

With a potential need for a goalkeeper and an emotional move to the club his father starred for, Reina to Atletico seems to make almost too much sense – but it would all depend on what Chelsea choose to do with Courtois.

image: © Eric The Fish (2013)

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