Napoli target Reina after giving Cesar 24-hour ultimatum

The Serie A club are planning a formal move for the Liverpool goalkeeper, who shares an agent with Rafael Benitez, if the QPR man does not accept their final contract offer
By Wayne Veysey

Napoli have given Julio Cesar 24 hours to accept their contract offer as they step up their interest in Pepe Reina, Goal has learned.

The Brazil No.1 has held extensive negotiations with the Partenopei and has an offer on the table after Napoli agreed a season-long loan with QPR.

But Cesar is believed to want a more lucrative salary package from Napoli, which has thrown the move into doubt.

Napoli want an answer from the goalkeeper and his representatives in the next 24 hours on whether he will accept their offer.

Coach Rafa Benitez has lined up Liverpool's Reina as an experienced alternative to Cesar.

The Spaniard has three years remaining on his £110,000-a-week Anfield contract and the Merseysiders could be willing to listen to offers after signing Simon Mignolet from Sunderland earlier in the window.

Napoli signed young goalkeeper Rafael from Santos for €5m earlier in July but Benitez wants a battle-hardened No.1 for the new campaign, and one who can also guide the 22-year-old Brazilian.

The Partenopei boss shares an agent with Reina, which could smooth the negotiations should the Liverpool man become the principal target.

Cesar could be running out of options if he rejects Napoli’s offer.

Arsenal held preliminary talks with QPR about signing Cesar but stopped short of making a formal bid.

It is understood the Gunners have now cooled their interest in the Brazilian, while Roma, another of his former suitors, have turned their attention to Napoli's Morgan De Sanctis, who has been in limbo while Napoli pursue a replacement.

Roma have also targeted the 33-year-old after the new Giallorossi boss Rudi Garcia told the club he wanted an experienced goalkeeper for next season.

QPR need to off-load Cesar from their wage bill – he is believed to earn around £80,000-a-week - as they prepare for life in the Championship.