With Martin Skrtel heading to Napoli, Liverpool need a new centre half

Reports indicate that the Slovakian defender will move to the Serie A side on loan initially, with a permanent deal in a year’s time.

After Pepe Reina’s move to the San Paolo outfit, Martin Skrtel appears to be next in line to join former Reds boss Rafa Benitez at the San Paolo club. Media both in England and in Italy are suggesting that the Spanish boss has earmarked the 28-year-old as a potential addition this summer, with a deal close.

Following the sale of Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the transfer window, Napoli have been busy strengthening their contingent ahead of Champions League football next term. The trio of Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol have been signed from Real Madrid, with no sign that Benitez’s recruitment drive is set to stop there.

Experienced centre half Hugo Campagnaro swapped the Partenopei for Inter Milan earlier in the summer, and as such Napoli are looking to bolster their options at the back.

Skrtel’s time at Anfield has been largely up and down. When on form the Slovakian has formed a strong partnership with Daniel Agger in the Merseyside club’s defence, but he has also been prone to errors. A dip in form half-way through last season saw Brendan Rodgers opt to partner Jamie Carragher with Agger, with Skrtel largely used from the bench.

With stalwart Carragher retiring, a dominant figure at the back for Liverpool has been removed. Yes, the Reds have added Kolo Toure to their squad, but the Ivory Coast international is no spring chicken, and certainly not the player that stepped out for Arsenal in his pomp.

With Sebastian Coates failing to live up to his pre-signature billing, Liverpool would be foolish to part with Skrtel without an able replacement lined up.

The link to Schalke’s Kyriakos Papadopoulos continues to present itself in the press, however there is little substance to suggest that the Greek defender will move to England. Schalke have Champions League football to play in 2013-14, which Liverpool seem a long way away from currently.

With Carragher no longer there to count on as Mr Dependable, Rodgers would be ill-advised to part with another of his long-termers at the back just yet should he have ambitions of breaking into the top four next season.

images: © etyek

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