Villa’s Reina open to prolonging Premier League stay

Aston Villa

Aston Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina has admitted he would be open to staying in the Premier League beyond the terms of his current loan spell.

Reina previously spent nine years in England at Liverpool, winning an FA Cup and an EFL Cup, before heading back to the continent after Simon Mignolet’s arrival.

His first spell in Italy came on loan in the 2013-14 season when he helped Rafa Benitez’s Napoli win the Coppa Italia before a season at Bayern Munich.

Reina then returned to Italy for a further three years at Napoli before switching to AC Milan where, like at Bayern where he was understudy to Manuel Neuer, he has played second fiddle to Gianluigi Donnarumma.

After 18 months at the San Siro, he returned to the Premier League in January to join Villa on loan.

The Villans have struggled between the sticks this season, with first-choice Tom Heaton ruled out for the campaign with a knee injury, while Jed Steer has been battling a calf problem.

Third-choice Orjan Nyland has also failed to produce consistently and when the season resumes, it looks like Reina will retain the gloves.

The Premier League, like all English domestic competitions, has been extended indefinitely, with the authorities saying they are keen to find “ways to resume 2019/20 season as soon as it is safe”.

With football postponed for the foreseeable, the future of players with deals expiring on June 30 is up for debate as the campaign may go on beyond that.

After being quizzed on his future by fans on Instagram, Reina says he has “bonded” with everyone at Milan but admits he would not be averse to remaining in England.

“Staying in the Premier?” he wrote. “The formula is that of the six-month loan until 30 June, then I still have a year of contract with Milan.

“But in football you never know.”