Liverpool Transfer News: Centre-Back Must Be Reds' Priority for Rest of Summer
The clock is ticking, Brendan Rodgers, and you cannot wait any longer to pull the trigger on a new centre-back.
Daniel Agger and Kolo Toure are solid starters—as is and should be a competent pairing for the rest of the season when they're on the pitch. Behind them, Rodgers is bereft of many more good options for the centre of Liverpool's defence.
Martin Skrtel had a hard time adapting to the club's style last season. Although the club has rubbished any interest from Napoli (h/t the BBC's Ben Smith), it would be a surprise if Skrtel stays at the club.
Sebastian Coates will be out for most of the season with a knee injury (h/t The Guardian). That leaves Martin Kelly and Andre Wisdom as the top remaining options.
It's a problem Rodgers hopes to address before September 2 (h/t Dominic King of the Daily Mail):
We want to strengthen the squad. To maximise Andre Wisdom's talent, I need to get someone in on loan. I just think the position Andre plays, it is preferable to have that experience.
He played centre-half mostly through pre-season. Unless you are in the team, it is beneficial to be getting games.
While it's good that the club is pursuing its options, you can't really get too excited about what Rodgers had to say—until a new player is holding up the Liverpool shirt at Anfield or Melwood.
Of course he's going to confirm that the club is looking at targets.
Arsene Wenger has said the exact same thing at the Emirates, and look at what Arsenal have done this summer.
Moves for Toby Alderweireld (h/t Daily Mirror's Matt Law) and Kyriakos Papadopoulos (h/t Liverpool Echo) haven't moved past the rumour stage. With so little time left in the window, you'd have wanted to see something more substantial than that.
It's really the only problem with what Liverpool have done in the summer transfer window, because for the most part, the Reds have purchased very wisely this summer in addition to keeping Luis Suarez.
Toure, Simon Mignolet and Iago Aspas have all contributed immediately, and Aly Cissokho should as well, after his loan to the club became official (h/t Liverpool's Instagram account).
Coming into the summer, though, you knew centre-back was going to be an issue.
This hasn't come out of nowhere because Agger is off to Barcelona or some other unforeseen catastrophe. The position was a problem last season and will continue to be one if Liverpool don't bring in another player.
Toure is more of a stopgap and just a better version of Jamie Carragher. He's not going to be somebody you build your defence around. It would be a shock if he plays as well as he did against Stoke City for the remainder of the season.
Do Liverpool still need to add a first-team centre-back?
You're also gambling a bit to expect Agger to play 30-plus Premier League games. He's only done it once since 2006/07.
That leaves a lot for Wisdom and Kelly to handle. The former is still very raw and prone to some silly mistakes, and the latter is coming off an injury that cost him the majority of last season. Although they're great prospects for the future, neither inspires a lot of confidence toward Liverpool's top-four push in 2012/13.
Liverpool still need somebody like Alderweireld or Papadopoulos. They're skilled enough on the ball to fit into Rodgers' system, and they're the kind of young talent that works with the club's transfer policy or buying younger talent who have sell-on value.
Rodgers cannot afford to waste any time, though. The closer to September 2 he goes, the higher the transfer fee is going to be. The last thing Liverpool want to have happen is another Clint Dempsey situation.
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