SIMON Mignolet will be assured by Liverpool, ahead of his move to Anfield, that he will be installed as the Reds’ number one in the new season.
The Sunderland keeper is expected on Merseyside this week along with his advisers to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical, which is likely to take place tomorrow.
But the Belgian keeper would not contemplate the move – a switch worth a potential £12million to the Black Cats – if it meant running the risk of playing second fiddle to long-serving Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina.
Reina has become a cult hero on the Kop over the course of eight years at Liverpool.
But last season was not the 30-year-old’s finest and he was widely tipped to leave the club this summer.
Reina himself said he would consider a move back to Barcelona this summer and was expected to go for £10m after supposedly being identified by the Catalan giants as their replacement for Victor Valdes.
But nothing has happened so far and Reina himself has thrown the situation into confusion by suggesting he would like to stay at Liverpool.
If he does though, it will be made clear to the Spaniard that he will start off next season on the bench.
Liverpool hope that scenario will be enough to persuade Reina to move on, because they would prefer to recoup as much of their outlay on the Sunderland keeper as possible.
Mignolet, meanwhile, will feel certain that a move to a higher profile club like Liverpool will enhance his chances of displacing Thibaut Courtois as Belgium’s number one, going into World Cup year – something which is his main ambition right now.
But, for exactly the same reason, he would not be interested in moving to Anfield if he felt that he would be spending much time on the substitutes’ bench.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will assure him that that is a prospect he does not have to worry about, and that assurance will be the clincher on the deal.
The Mignolet move this week is expected to be pretty straight-forward, but the Reina situation could well be a more complex affair.
That, of course though, will not be Sunderland’s worry.