It’s a well-known fact that Arsenal were on the lookout to improve their squad in the goalkeeping area this summer, with several big name players such as Iker Casillas, Federico Marchetti and Rene Adler. In the end Arsenal brought in the loan signing of Emiliano Viviano from Serie B side Palermo and although he isn’t on the same level as any of those mentioned before, he is certainly still a good goalkeeper. One goalkeeper we were linked to that isn’t perhaps quite up to scratch is Barcelona’s Victor Valdes, who will leave the Camp Nou this summer. He is arguably one of the world’s most error prone goalkeepers, but is his fellow countryman Pepe Reina on the same scale?
It’s the man Pepe that is our focal point out of all of this and it’s been revealed that throughout all of these goalkeeping targets, one that did come close to being pulled off was Pepe Reina from Liverpool. Liverpool were willing to let the Spaniard go last summer and although Arsenal were in for him, he chose Napoli instead. Now, he is licking his wounds after Arsenal totally dominated what was expected to be a highly contested match.
Reina told the media, in an interview picked up by the Sun newspaper: “The interest of Arsenal in my services? Now I think only of Napoli. But to come back to England with Napoli against Arsenal in London is special. It’s a joy to meet Cazorla, Arteta and Monreal. They are my friends but rivals on the pitch. This is a test of fire for us. But Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon have adapted to us well and are really performing — especially Gonzalo, he is sensational in front of goal. Arsenal are top of the Premier League but we are second in Serie A — and it looks like developing into a big season for us. There is no clear favourite in this game. We’re very confident but it’s a tough group and an away point would mean a very positive result for us.”
Alongside Reina, another player who could have been lining up against the Gunners last night is long term summer target Gonzalo Higuain. The striker looked forlorn as he watched the Gunners tear his new team a new hole, and I wonder if he was thinking what could have been had he moved to North London.