Pepe Reina is set to join Aston Villa on a six-month loan from AC Milan.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Vastly experienced goalkeeper Pepe Reina, at thirty-seven years old, is set to make a return to the Premier League as a loan to Aston Villa should go through early next week – subject to a medical.
This will make Reina, who has previously played for Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Napoli, but currently represents AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A, the sixth senior goalkeeper on the books at B6.
With Orjan Nyland, who looks set to remain as number one for the foreseeable future, Lovre Kalinic and Matija Sarkic, who was recently recalled from his loan at Livingston all fit options, and Tom Heaton and Jed Steer two goalkeepers suffering from an injury, Reina would make himself the fifth goalkeeper capped at senor international level currently at the club.
The move for Reina showcases the lack of faith in Lovre Kalinic to deputise in a potential absence from Nyland, and pushes the Croatian stopper further down the pecking order. It is likely that Aston Villa will listen to any offers that come in for the goalkeeper that joined last January.
Reina, who was once referred to as the ‘best goalkeeper of his era with his feet’ by Gianluigi Buffon, has won a number of trophies in his career – but is tasked with helping in the dressing room and potentially with having a role in helping his new club stay in the Premier League.
The move is via Sporting Director Jesus Garcia Pitarch, otherwise known as Suso, who had been tasked with finding another goalkeeping option by Dean Smith.
The formalities need to be agreed, and the medical needs to be passed – but Reina will more than likely be pictured with a Villa crest on his chest come early next week.