LIVERPOOL FC’s worst fears are this week on the brink of being realised as Premier League Champions Manchester City and Spanish giants Barcelona have attempted to unsettle the Reds Danish central defender, Daniel Agger.
More fuel was added to this particular fire, when Agger was left out of the squad to face FC Gomel in the Europa League qualifier; the club’s first competitive fixture of the new season. Agger’s agent, Per Steffensen, then stoked the fire further by stated he had no idea why Agger was left at home, and that it was a club decision – but he wasn’t injured:
“He’s not injured at all, I can’t tell you why he isn’t in the squad, only the club or the manager can. I can tell you he’s not asked for a transfer – that’s nonsense. Daniel is happy at Liverpool.”
Agger 27, is regarded as one of Europe’s finest defenders and was expected to be key to Brendan Rodgers’s new look Liverpool side. His ability to bring the ball out from defence and his classy style has caught the attention of the Champions League giants and could force Liverpool to part with one of their prized assets.
With a reported £20 million deal on the table from Barcelona, £15 million up front and £5 million based on appearances, the deal could be too good to turn down for the Reds as Rodgers attempts to strengthen his war chest in preparation of his summer recruitment process.
Despite Agger’s importance to Liverpool it is certainly worth taking into account that the Dane has only made 119 appearances in 7 injury hit seasons, with last season being his highest total since joining the Reds from Brondby in 2005 for a fee of £5.75 million.
The facts tell their own story and a somewhat surprising fact is that Agger has only appeared in 35% of all competitive games since his Anfield debut against Birmingham in 2006. Despite last season’s Liverpool career high of 27 appearances Agger still missed 24 competitive games for the Reds in what has become an all too familiar story.
To describe Agger as injury prone doesn’t come close to telling the full story, with a plethora of persistent niggles plaguing the gifted Dane throughout his Liverpool career. Agger himself has constantly voiced his frustration at his lack of fitness and raised concerns last season when, whilst nursing a broken rib, he told Danish journalists “my body might not have been built to play football”.
Liverpool would certainly have to use a good proportion of the sum of any potential sale to replace Agger, but with Carragher, Skrtel, Kelly, Coates at the club along with youngsters Wilson, Sama and Wisdom then without being blessed with huge numbers the Reds certainly aren’t light on the defensive front.
Despite those concerns any deal that sees the Reds make 4 times the transfer fee that they paid for a player could and should involve serious consideration. With Barcelona prepared to pay the reported £20 million required to prize Agger away from Anfield, things could move fairly quickly and the Danish international could complete any move to La Liga within the next week or so.
Any potential sale would accelerate Liverpool’s efforts to keep Slovakian international Martin Skrtel at the club. The Reds must go all out to keep Skrtel if Agger does depart, or risk the possibility of losing both first choice central defenders.
The waiting game has begun in relation to Agger’s departure but with the start of the season less than 3 weeks away, time is ticking to complete any deal and bring in any potential replacements. If the Reds do decide to accept an offer, Rodgers must move quickly to avoid any serious disruption to the start of his first season in charge of Liverpool Football Club. YNWA!
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