Pepe Reina the Liverpool goalkeeper was stopped from agreeing a £20 million move to Arsenal by former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillet, the Spaniard has claimed in his new autobiography.
In sensational claims the 29-year-old admits that he came close to leaving Anfield on three occassions but was stopped from joining Arsenal as it was feared that his departune would affect the potential sale of the club.
Reina’s request to speak to Arsene Wenger in 2010 about a possible £20 million move came when he returned from Spain’s World Cup victory celebrations last year to find the club in disarray following the sacking of Rafa Benitez.
With Hicks and Gillet sinking under a sea of debt and managing director Christian Purslow struggling to find new owers, Reina hit his lowest point in his career at the club.
‘I went from elation one minute to depression the next as the realisation dawned that Liverpool were going nowhere fast,’ says Reina in his new autobiography.
‘When I signed my contract in April 2010 I hoped that better times were just around the corner, a feeling that was fuelled by the promises of improvement from people at the club.’
Reina, who claims that there was splits in the Liverpool dressing room over the American owners, felt that it was within his rights to consider the phenomenal bid from Arsenal after becoming disillusioned with the running of the club.
The Spanish international has also said that he was opposed to the appointment of Roy Hodgson as a replacement for Rafa Benitez.
‘It didn’t take me long to feel that their promises were hollow. I felt betrayed. Our owners were at war with each other, the club’s debts were spiraling out of control and a change in manager had failed to dispel the feeling that we were on the road to nowhere, Reina has said.
Reina felt let down at the club’s reaction to his request claiming that the decision was not based on his value as a goalkeep but rather that his continued presence was crucial to the sale of the club.
“I was simply a bargaining chip in the sales process”, he said.
The spaniard, who campaigned for the departue of Hicks and Gillet long before current owner John W Henry took over last October, has claimed that he would of liked home grown heroes Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard to have taken a similar stand.
‘I was probably one of the loudest objectors because I believed it was important the supporters knew I was with them,’ he says.
‘All I wanted the owners to do was sell up to people who could take the club forward, so I said so.
‘The way I saw it, Stevie and Carra are the two principle members of our squad, the ones who the people love and if they had said something maybe it would have put Hicks and Gillett under real pressure.
‘But in their view, it was more important to try to keep things as normal as possible.’