Liverpool's new young goalkeeper Daniele Padelli has been speaking of his delight to have become a Liverpool player. He's here on loan at the moment, but he really hopes he can convince the management at the club to take up an option and make his move permanent.
He said he wasn't expecting Liverpool to come in for him: "Coming to Liverpool was a dream, and on the day I signed the dream came true. To tell you the truth, I nearly fainted when I heard Liverpool were interested in me. It was a surprise. I am honoured to be the first Italian here and I hope to do well. My aim is to hold the Italian flag very high."
Padelli was signed from Sampdoria on loan when the future of Liverpool FC was still in the balance. It's quite likely that Liverpool would have signed him on a permanent deal had the takeover – at that time still expected to be by DIC – gone ahead before the end of the transfer window. Now he's on loan though and so of course Liverpool have the option over whether he stays or goes this summer. He hopes it's the former: "I really hope to be staying beyond this season, but no one can ever be sure of anything. I'm not saying I am as good as any of the champions here, but my aim is to work very hard and try to achieve this. Obviously Pepe and Jerzy are two great goalkeepers, they wouldn't be at Liverpool and they wouldn't be at the level they're at without being very good. I will have to wait for my opportunity to shine but hopefully that will happen eventually."
After playing in the Italian second division for the first half of this season Padelli says there is a big increase in standards at Anfield: "I think there is a little bit to be learned from everyone. All the players here are at a much higher level than what I've been used to. There are high-profile players like Gerrard and Crouch, which is amazing, but to be honest they are all of a standard which makes me really excited to play with them. Rafa Benitez told me that I had to come here to work seriously and to use my head. He says everyone has to earn their position."
Thankfully Padelli hasn't tried to tell us he's been a lifelong fan of the club – but he knew our name was one of the big ones in world football: "I didn't really follow the English league in any great detail when I was growing up, but everyone knows Liverpool are one of the great clubs of Europe and one of the great clubs of the world. I also knew there were a lot of champions and great players here. One thing I was aware of in Italy was how good the supporters were. Anfield is a great stadium."
Jerzy Dudek's contract is up at the end of this season and he's not likely to get a renewal, meaning Padelli could be closer to the number one spot at the club. However, England under-21 keeper Scott Carson is due back from his season-long loan at Charlton in the summer and he'll be expecting to have become the new backup to first-choice Pepe Reina. Rumours that Pepe Reina was going to leave the club this summer seem to have died down again, but decisions are going to be needed from Rafa in terms of his goalkeeping positions.
Arsenal have been reportedly showing interest in Scott Carson, but the Cumbrian keeper won't have any extra chances of first-team football at the Emirates than he would have at Anfield, at least not in the short term.