Liverpool’s Slovakian centre-half Martin Skrtel has emerged as a leading target for Turkish giants Galatasaray and it is believed boss Brendan Rodgers will sanction his sale if a replacement is sourced first.
The Reds – rated at 9/1 to hoist a maiden Premier League trophy next term – want to draft in Dejan Lovren from Southampton, but the hard-bargaining south coast club will not relinquish the Croat for anything less than £20m.
Should Rodgers decide that the fee is worth paying and brings the St Mary’s star to Anfield, Skrtel will be allowed to move on, but exporting the former Zenit St Petersburg man would be an unwise move.
Here are three reasons to clarify the notion:
No defender outscored the 29-year-old in the top-flight last term.
Preventing goals may be his meat and gravy, but seven strikes from a central-defender is an above admirable haul and definitely a weapon worth keeping in your arsenal.
What’s more is that he bagged the bulk of these against the Reds’ title rivals, with two coming in the 5-1 rout of Arsenal and one apiece against Chelsea and Manchester City.
He outperformed every Premier League defensive peer last term.
Having started all bar two of their league games it’s fair to say that Skrtel was the bedrock of Liverpool’s backline and, while the leakiness of their rearguard can be seen as the reason behind their title capitulation, extracting such an integral figure is a move not without huge risk.
There wasn’t a single defender who could best his 7.45 WhoScored.com rating last term, while his average of 11.4 clearances per outing was a league high.
The Merseysiders have a flawless league record in 2014 with Skrtel and Daniel Agger marshalling their defence.
Often regarded as the brains to the Slovakian’s brawn, Agger is another who found himself obscurely marginalised for long periods last season.
When his and Skrtel’s forces combined, however, Liverpool won every league match they played following the turn of the year, keeping four clean sheets in those seven matches.