Spanish veteran Pepe Reina has joined Aston Villa on a six-month loan deal until the end of the season.
Aston Villa sit in the relegation zone after a 6-1 home loss to Manchester City combined with long term injuries to Wesley, John McGinn and Tom Heaton. Orjan Nyland has however been in good form as Villa are on course for a place in the Carabao Cup Final with a home Semi-Final second leg against Leicester City to come later this month.
Reina spoke to VillaTV after signing for the club: "We need to play together, remain determined and these things need to be our basics.
"I think it’s a great dressing room, I am told they’re great lads and now we need our mentality to be strong, and to be ready for a good battle in the last games."
Reina, 37, himself won the League Cup with Liverpool in 2012. The Spanish international also won two European Championships and a World Cup in 2010 with Spain. He has made 36 appearances at international level.
After losing a European Cup final to his parent club AC Milan, Reina managed to succeed elsewhere in Europe, winning domestic titles in Germany and Italy. After lifting the Copa Italia with Napoli in 2014, Reina won the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich a year later.
In England, Reina enjoyed much success at Liverpool, keeping 134 clean sheets in 285 Premier League appearances. Reina won three Golden Glove award during his time on Merseyside.
What can he bring to Villa?
Reina will bring both leadership and authority to a Villa side that have the second worst defensive record in the Premier League. He will replace the experience lost in Heaton.
Dean Smith said: "We’ve managed to secure a player in Pepe who has a wealth of Premier League experience.
“At the start of the summer we were looking for an experienced goalkeeper and brought in Tom Heaton. Unfortunately, his injury has ruled him out for the rest of the season but Pepe fits our criteria not just because of his experience but also because of his leadership qualities.”
Having made only 13 appearances for Milan since joining in 2018, Reina will enjoy regular playing time as Villa nurse injuries to Heaton and Jed Steer, who is out until February. Although the former World Cup winner has only played once this season, as he has covered Gianluigi Donnarumma since his joining the Rossoneri.
Villa's window so far
Danny Drinkwater was brought in as Villa's first January recruit last week. The Chelsea loanee made his first start for the club in the defeat to Man City, a club he has faced in all three of his last debuts for Burnley and Chelsea.
He and Reina both hold experience in abundance. Importantly, experience in the Premier League. The two combined have more appearances, starts and almost everything else but goals than anyone else in Villa's current squad.
Goals will be a major problem for Villa who are kenn to ship out the only striker at the club, in Johnathan Kodjia - a reported target for Nottingham Forrest. Christian Benteke, Fernando Llorente and Eddie Nketiah have all ben linked after moves for Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi came to a holt.
Elsewhere, Villa's lack of wingers may also be a concern of Dean Smith's, but whilst it is not a priority, a centre-forward remains the top of Smith's January wish list.
Villa's head coach spoke to SkySports after losing to Man City at Villa Park: “We’re in the market for a centre-forward as everybody knows and hopefully that will strengthen us. “I’ve been concentrating on this game, but now I’ll be sitting down with our sporting director.”