At the beginning of the season, Pepe Reina seemed to be a ‘shoe in’ as Liverpool’s first choice ‘keeper, but as the season wore on, Brad Jones broke into the first eleven and has played far more games than he surely thought likely. Although Reina is now once more in possession of the gloves, and Rodgers is speaking positively about Reina being at Anfield next season, rumours persist that all may not be well between manager and ‘keeper, and that Liverpool may opt to move Reina on in the summer.
Should this happen, there’s likely to be a few interested clubs. Not least among them will be Arsenal, who have a goalkeeper ‘crisis of confidence’ of their own, although they are currently linked with a different Spanish goalkeeper, the apparently unsettled Iker Casillas of Real Madrid. A further Spanish club could also enter the equation. Barcelona, Reina’s first club, where Victor Valdes appears likely to be leaving a vacancy as he strangely appears keen to pursue a new challenge away from the Camp Nou. If Reina does leave, it seems unlikely that Rodgers will be happy to rely on Jones, so a new ‘keeper arriving would seem to be likely. If so, where are Liverpool casting their eyes?
Rodgers has revealed a penchant for signing players that he knows are both tuned-in to his ethos of the game and known quantities. The Northern Irishman has already returned to former club Swansea City for Joe Allen, and has also re-secured the services of Fabio Borini, albeit via a detour to the Italian capital with AS Roma. Talk is, as well, that Swansea centre back Ashley Williams is on Liverpool’s radar for a summer bid. It’ll probably come as no surprise therefore that rumour has it that Rodgers number one option, should a goalkeeper be required, is Dutchman Michel Vorm, currently plying his trade in south Wales at the Liberty Stadium.
Vorm was secured in 2001 from Utrecht for the princely sum of £1.5million, and safe to say that should the deal go through, the fee required from Liverpool will be substantially more than that, leaving the Welsh team with a handsome profit. Swansea are a well-run club however, and probably have no financial imperative driving them to sell. That said, they also have a policy of allowing people to move on to progress their careers, witness Rodgers and Allen for example, and before that, it was also true of managers such as Roberto Martinez. A bid of some £8million therefore, may well be enough to secure the deal.
The club will have faith in both the ability of current number two Gerhard Tremmel, at least in the short term, but also in manager Michael Laudrup’s financial acumen to pluck another rabbit from the hat in the transfer market to rank alongside Michu, de Guzman and Chico. The Dane’s knowledge of the European market has been, and continues to be a strong suit for the Welsh club.
Although the Liverpool hierarchy will have no desire to see Rodgers recreate his old Swansea team en masse, the manager’s stock will surely be high enough for them to support his judgement should a new goalkeeper be required. So as the changes continue to be rung around Anfield as the Rodgers regime takes shape, it may well be a summer move out for Pepe Reina, and one in for Michel Vorm.