• Premier League

Napoli eye Reina following Cesar setback

ESPN staff
July 19, 2013
Pepe Reina could be heading out of Liverpool © PA Photos

Napoli are expected to step up their interest in Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina after their chances of signing Julio Cesar from Queens Park Rangers suffered a blow.

Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed that €124.5 million - aided by the sale of Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain - is available to coach Rafa Benitez for investment this summer.

And with the club looking to offload Morgan De Sanctis to Roma, a new goalkeeper is near the top of Benitez's wishlist.

Napoli had appeared close to finalising a deal for Cesar. However, the Brazil international's agent, Josias Cardoso, has said his client is not prepared to accept a wage cut to move to Stadio San Paolo.

"Julio does not want his wages to be cut," he told Radio Crc. "It's already asking a lot for him to move to Napoli and receive the same money he was getting at QPR without asking for a rise.

"The final word will be down to president De Laurentiis. We've not yet reached an agreement with the club on the goalkeeper's salary. They've made me an offer, but it was too far away from what my client is currently on."

Napoli are now likely to shift their interest to Reina, who shares the same agent as Benitez, and worked under the Spaniard for five years at Liverpool. And with the arrival of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland Reina's future at Anfield has been questioned in recent weeks.

"I'm currently working with the players I have available, but my club is working hard on the transfer market," Benitez said.

Having lost Cavani, the Napoli boss is also on the lookout for a new striker.

Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain has been tipped to replace the Uruguay international, while Leandro Damiao of Internacional is another target De Laurentiis has confirmed Napoli are trying to sign.

Benitez said: "It's obvious that we need a striker, and maybe we'll get two of them."

The former Liverpool manager went on to speak of his side's chances of landing their first Scudetto since 1990 next season.

"Everybody is asking me for the title," he said. "If we have a strong team and we improve day by day, then we can try to do something positive. I want to win everything. This team has done well in recent years, but we want to go even further."

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