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Aston Villa sign former Liverpool goalkeeper Reina on loan from AC Milan

22:25 GMT+3 13/01/2020
PEPE REINA GENOA MILAN
Dean Smith has bolstered his squad following a long-term injury to Tom Heaton, with the former Spain international adding plenty of experience

Aston Villa have completed the signing of goalkeeper Pepe Reina on loan from AC Milan until the end of the season.

The 37-year-old Spaniard joins with a wealth of experience under his belt, having represented Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, among other clubs, during his career.

It will be Reina’s first return to the Premier League since leaving Anfield permanently in 2014.

Villa were desperate for a replacement for first-choice goalkeeper Tom Heaton, after the England international was ruled out until the end of the season with knee ligament damage.

Norway keeper Orjan Nyland had deputised in the meantime - having previously been Villa's first-choice keeper during their promotion season from the Championship - before succumbing to a severe injury of his own.

Manager Dean Smith told the club's website: “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.”

Reina started his career with Barcelona, with his father, Miguel Reina, having also been a goalkeeper for them during the 1960s and 1970s.

After then spending three years at Villarreal, he was taken to Liverpool by Rafa Benitez in the summer of 2005 and spent the bulk of his career on Merseyside.

In eight seasons as Liverpool's number one, he won four trophies - the UEFA Super Cup immediately after joining, the FA Cup in 2006, the Community Shield in the same year and the League Cup in 2012.

After a successful year on loan at Napoli which brought a Coppa Italia win, he left Liverpool for Bayern Munich in 2014.

Reina only spent one season in Bavaria, serving as understudy to Manuel Neuer with the Germany stopper arguably at his peak, before returning for three more years at Napoli.

He moved to Milan at the beginning of last season, but found first-team football difficult to come by once again with Gianluigi Donnarumma established as first choice.

Reina could be thrown straight back into Premier League action as Villa travel to Brighton on Saturday. His new side are 18th following their 6-1 drubbing at home to Manchester City on Sunday.