Pepe Reina has made his bed, now he can lie in it.
In the wake of the goalkeeper’s departure from Liverpool this is battle of club versus player power. The well-documented open letter by Pepe Reina realised this week brought to light some fascinating questions about where the power really lies in football, and this round goes to the club.
After months of speculation the long standing keeper finally left Anfield, the Spaniard will spend a year long loan at Napoli with a view to a permanent move after relationships have been soured with is contracted club. Along with a long-winded goodbye note, the keeper claims the loan bid was accepted without the him being informed.
Without having any first hand knowledge of how transfers work I couldn’t call myself an expert. Few are privy to the inner workings of the million pound cattle market, but did Reina go to be on Friday in Liverpool, and wake up in Naples on Saturday? At some point he must have been informed of the bid, and despite the clubs acceptance of the bid I am sure if Reina could have rejected the move and chose to fight for his place, but the damage had already been done. It brings into question what duty does a club have to its players and informing them of bids. None, presumably however many argue as a long-standing servant to the club Liverpool could have acted more delicately in Reina’s departure.
In the much-maligned open letter Reina felt it has dampened the end of his time at Liverpool. He wrote, “If I have one regret, it is the way that I am leaving”. There is some important language in use here, less Reina forgot he is contracted to Liverpool and ultimately belongs to them. He dictation of how he wanted to move is simply a reflection of growing or preserved growth of player power.
Reina also stated that he had asked to club to let him go only if one club had made enquires, that club being Barcelona. Soon after that discussion Simon Mignolet was purchased and Reina time was over. It appears Rogers and Liverpool had flexed their muscles to show they are only interested in players who are wholly committed to Liverpool. Reina‘s complaints about supposed lack of loyalty seem ironic in the odd admittance in the same letter he had tried to push through a move to his hometown club. Liverpool took this opportunity to move on a fading talent, Reina’s performance had been under scrutiny for a few seasons, coupled with falling shot stopping percentage backs this theory up.
This step against player power is a brave but a necessary one if clubs want to be able to keep hold of their best players in the future. However this is one of many battles clubs are undertaken against players this summer and the war is far from won.
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