Differences between goalkeeper Victor Valdes and Barcelona have apparently metastasized to the point that the two sides are apparently going their separate ways.
The 31-year-old’s contract expires in June 2014, and last week his representation reportedly told the club he will not sign an extension. According to reports, Valdes didn't like the idea that Barcelona were interested in adding another goalkeeper to compete for the No. 1 role, and that the club elected to not hire his first-choice goalkeeper coach.
In 20 league games this season, Valdes has 39 saves, including five clean sheets, in a season where Barcelona have a commanding lead in the La Liga standings. He joined Barcelona as a member of the club's famed youth academy, and has been considered the No. 1 goalkeeper for roughly a decade. Valdes has 350 appearances with Barcelona, as well as 10 appearances with Spain, where he has been the backup to Real Madrid's Iker Casillas.
The Catalans are already shopping Valdes, and have made waves with several possible replacements lined up for next season. One of the top names belongs to Liverpool’s Pepe Reina, who is reportedly interested in a return to Camp Nou, according to Metro.
"I am absolutely convinced that Pepe would be more than delighted to return to his Barcelona, where they made him into an upstanding man from the time he arrived at the age of 12 until he left," said Miguel Reina, Pepe’s father, according to The Independent.
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Pepe Reina began his career with Barcelona's youth squad before making a stop with Villarreal and eventually Liverpool in 2005.
Then there is Thibaut Courtois, who is already on loan to Atletico Madrid via Chelsea. The 20-year-old Belgian native has become very popular with fans, both for his heroics and body-sacrificing saves. The Sun reported last week that Barcelona could put together a £10 million package for Courtois, which would be a solid discount considering his £13 million valuation.
Manchester United’s David de Gea is another young goalkeeper tied to Barcelona. The 22-year-old joined the Red Devils in 2011 and has made 44 appearances, but has made some notable errors in his time at Old Trafford. De Gea would cost more than Courtois, as his value is marked around £15.5 million.