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Oct 9, 2011

Reina: Ex-owners blocked move

Pepe Reina has revealed he was "depressed" at Liverpool under the previous owners and was refused the chance to speak to Arsenal because he was needed as "a bargaining chip" in the sale of the club.

• Wilson reveals Gunners' Reina bid
• Clarke rues international break

Reina, 29, signed for Liverpool in 2005 and enjoyed success in his early years at the club as he won the 2006 FA Cup and a runner-up medal in the 2007 Champions League, but things began to fall apart as the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett turned sour.

When Arsenal made a £20 million bid in 2010, Reina - returning after the World Cup success with Spain to find a club in turmoil - was considering his options.

"I went from elation one minute to depression the next as the realisation dawned that Liverpool were going nowhere fast," he wrote in Pepe: My 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.

"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 spiralling out of control and a change in manager had failed to dispel the feeling that we were on the road to nowhere.

"Arsenal had made their determination to sign me clear by offering £20 million, a phenomenal amount for a goalkeeper. Part of me felt that I was well within my rights to consider my future even if I did so with a heavy heart.

"When Liverpool received the bid, they rejected it. This was not because I had been told that I was too good a keeper to leave. The reason I was given was quite different - and it left me feeling down. I was told that my continued presence was crucial to the sale of the club. I was simply a bargaining chip in the sales process.

"I still don't know what to think of [managing director Christian] Purslow because I understand he was there to look for new owners and to try to sell the club but ultimately he was making big football decisions that he was not qualified to make."

Reina made public his belief that Hicks and Gillett needed to leave for the good of the club and he believes Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher could have backed that view to help force the sale.

"I was probably one of the loudest objectors because I believed it was important the supporters knew I was with them," he wrote. "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."

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