at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Pepe Reina’s future at Liverpool is under threat, with manager Brendan Rodgers considering January moves for Birmingham’s England goalkeeper Jack Butland or young German prospect Ron-Robert Zieler.
And that will not be Rodgers’s only move, with Liverpool close to finalising a £12million deal for Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge and the £6m acquisition of his England Under 21 teammate Thomas Ince.
Rodgers has been unsure about Reina, 30, since he arrived in the summer and wants a long-term replacement.
The Liverpool boss almost moved to sign England keeper Butland in the summer but held off. Now he is ready to step up his interest in the 19-year-old when the transfer window opens. Zieler, meanwhile, is one of the best goalies in Germany and is contracted to Hannover with a £12.2m buy-out clause.
Having started his career at Manchester United, the 23-year-old joined Hannover in 2010 and has played more than 70 games. He also has two full Germany caps.
Reina has missed part of the season with a hamstring injury and one of Rodgers’s problems is that No 2 keeper Brad Jones has failed to convince.
A possible destination for Reina is Arsenal, who tried to buy him two-and-a-half years ago, and he could even be part of a deal to entice Theo Walcott.
But that depends on whether Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger still considers a keeper to be a priority.
Daily Mail revealed last month Liverpool’s interest in 23-year-old Sturridge and Ince, 20, who was allowed to leave Anfield for Blackpool 18 months ago for £250,000.
Liverpool tried to sign Sturridge in August but the deal fell through at the last minute. The striker joined Chelsea from Manchester City in 2009 for £6.5m but has struggled to command a regular place and has made just two appearances this season while struggling with a hamstring injury.
He has still managed 24 goals in 95 games for Chelsea and Rodgers hopes he and Ince can ease the goalscoring burden on Luis Suarez.
Sturridge’s representatives, Octagon, on Tuesday denied he is seeking a contract of £80,000 a week when he moves and assurances of a central striking role.
A statement read: “Daniel does not conduct his business in public. He also does not make demands in any negotiation, with regards to salary or playing position.”
Suarez, meanwhile, will start his first Europa League away game for Liverpool as they head to Italy for Thursday’s tie against Udinese. – Daily Mail