Rafa Benitez’s long-term pursuit of Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has finally reached an end, with the former Liverpool stopper having agreed a pre-contract agreement to join AC Milan at the end of the season – ending any hopes of Benitez bringing him to Tyneside.
Benitez’s interest in signing the 35-year-old was clear throughout the summer, however Reina decided to remain in Italy despite entering the final year of his contract.
His deal expires with top of the table Napoli at the end of the season and he has already committed to his next move, agreeing a two-year contract with fellow Serie A giants AC Milan on a free transfer.
There may have been a strong bond between Reina and Rafa from their days together at Anfield, but this always seemed like an unlikely deal.
It’s also debatable whether Rafa would’ve actually come back in for him this summer, with Martin Dubravka’s start to life at St James’ Park suggesting he’ll be more than good enough to sign permanently and become the club’s new number one.