The Slovakian centre half has been the subject of transfer rumours over the last 12 months, and it appears that it may well be time for the Reds to sell up.
Martin Skrtel’s neutralisation of Robin van Persie in Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Manchester United at Anfield earlier this season was a classic example of the no-nonsense centre-back at his best. Alongside Daniel Agger, the Slovakia international has been a mainstay in the Reds’ defence over the five years that he has played in England.
Despite Skrtel’s excellent performance against Van Persie and United, showings such as this have become less evident in recent times. The eastern European stopper’s time on Merseyside has been blighted with debilitating injuries, and it now appears that the club may well have outgrown him.
Skrtel will not be short of suitors should Liverpool show a willingness to sell, with the latest rumbling that Russian powerhouses and former club Zenit St Petersburg are readying a €20m January offer for the defender. Approaches for Skrtel have been turned down in the past, but Brendan Rodgers may well now decide that it is the centre-half’s time for a new challenge.
As it sits, Liverpool have gone from an overreliance on the Agger-Skrtel pairing to having a host of accomplished centre halves to pick from. As such, Rodgers has recently switched to a 3-5-2 system, which looks like getting the best out the club’s squad at both ends of the pitch.
Despite stalwart Jamie Carragher retiring from the game in the summer, three new centre halves have been acquired in the meantime.
Mamadou Sakho was the biggest name of the new arrivals, and is seemingly fitting right into the English game with minor teething issues. His physical attributes and versatility will be key in the Liverpool defence and he already looks like a player that will start the lion’s share of fixtures.
Kolo Toure’s free transfer signing was a shrewd piece of business by the Anfield side over the summer, and the Ivorian has looked to be getting back to the form that he displayed in his Arsenal days. With promising youngster Tiago Ilori and Agger also available to pick from, and Sebastian Coates when fit, it is clear that Rodgers has great options at the heart of his team.
Former Reds boss Rafa Benitez has been linked with a move to bring Skrtel to Napoli, but the reported 20m being readied by Zenit is likely to be as much money as Liverpool could command for the 28-year-old.
With the books needing to be balanced and Rodgers more than likely looking to spend money on players to bolster his squad elsewhere in January, it may well be that Skrtel’s time at Liverpool is coming to an end.
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