RAFAEL BENITEZ’S chances of being reunited with goalkeeper Pepe Reina hinge on Napoli chairman Aurelio de Laurentiis.

De Laurentiis has refused to give Reina, who only has one more year on his contract in Naples, a new three-year deal worth 3.5m euros a year after discussions with the player’s agent.

It is understood the Napoli chief feels he can get better value for money by cashing in now on a 34-year-old rather than commit to new expensive terms, having quoted the Magpies a fee of £5m.

Napoli could be prepared to give Reina a further 12-month extension on the same terms he has now, which is why there is a stand-off over his future.

Newcastle have baulked at the hefty fee for a player who turns 35 at the end of August, so are considering alternatives such as free agent Willy Caballero at the end of his Manchester City contract.

Reina, who would be interested in teaming up with the man who signed him for Liverpool and Napoli again, knows the situation is further complicated by the fact his manager wants to keep him.

Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri told Italian publication Corriere dello Sport: “Pepe has been for us an amazing guy and I hope he will continue to be.

“He is an absolute reference point for the staff, to the locker room; he is a man of great moral values, of humanity and football, and he submits them to the group.

“I hope he stays our goalkeeper beyond the discussions that may have taken place with the president. He’s fundamental also in the way he thinks.

“He’s a faithful man, who is loyal to the coach, and Pepe brings this feeling into the dressing room. He may also have made some mistakes, but he has better feet than any other goalkeeper in the world.”

Reina helped Napoli to third in Serie A last season to secure Champions League football. A return to the Premier League is thought to be tempting for him, although he is not in any rush to leave either.

Newcastle are on the look-out for a new goalkeeper despite having Karl Darlow, Rob Elliot, Matz Sels, Freddie Woodman and Tim Krul in their ranks already.