Liverpool Transfer News: Toby Alderweireld Not a Priority for Brendan Rodgers

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

Atletico's Hector, right, celebrates Atletico's Toby Alderweireld's goal during a Copa del Rey soccer match between Atletico de Madrid and Sant Andreu at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Toby Alderweireld is set to end his disappointing stint with Atletico Madrid after the Belgian defender was offered to Napoli by Dutch agent Soren Lerby.

The 24-year-old, who reportedly turned down Liverpool in favour of a move to Spain during the summer, per Sky Sports, has expressed his frustration after a lack of playing time at the Vicente Calderon, as reported by Ben Jefferson of The Express:

I miss Ajax, their style of play, my ex-teammates...At Atleti, I can't be happy if I'm not playing. The team is doing well and I continue to fight for my place, but I don't think it's my fault.

Jefferson's report also suggests Liverpool are among the clubs chasing Alderweireld, but it would appear Brendan Rodgers no longer needs to set his heart on prioritising a move for the player's services.

Alderweireld would have been a key signing back in September. As 2014 gathers momentum, Rodgers no longer needs to make the 24-year-old a top target.

The boss worked hard to strengthen the Reds' defensive ranks during the offseason. His decision to sign Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho, Tiago Ilori and Aly Cissokho has given Liverpool great depth at the back, providing an array of options alongside the likes of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel.

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Sakho, who joined for £18 million from Paris Saint-Germain, per BBC Sport, has been the most impressive defensive arrival for the side.

The player's intimidating stature, pace and dominating aerial presence looks promising for the future, especially when you consider the behemoth is just 23. He makes an average of 1.8 tackles per match, wins 2.7 headers and intercepts 2.1 balls each game, per

He is an action-packed defender, someone who thrives when engaging in physical play. While Liverpool have conceded 28 goals in 22 Premier League games this season, Sakho has remained impressive when fit.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12:  Martin Skrtel of Liverpool is watched by team mate Kolo Toure of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Liverpool at Britannia Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Toure's experience has also helped to fill the centre-back gap left by Jamie Carragher's retirement. The former Arsenal and Manchester City defender may fall behind his teammates when they are all fit, but his calm head and leadership skills are important to Rodgers' developing side.

Taking into consideration the other centre-back options at the club, and the fact Ilori is currently on loan at Granada, Alderweireld is not needed.

Rodgers must focus his attention on galvanising the club's midfield, especially now that Lucas Leiva has been ruled out with a knee ligament problem.

Distant whispers have linked the club with a loan move for AC Milan's Nigel de Jong, as reported by Simon Jones of the Daily Mail Online. As we've seen with Rodgers' temporary deals for Cissokho and Victor Moses, he is more than willing to fill a void in his squad with a non-permanent solution.

Wrapping up a deal of this type should be his No. 1 goal right now. Alongside this, creative reinforcements should also be sought before landing a centre-back.

Mohamed Salah has repeatedly been linked with a transfer from Basel, per Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail Online, as Rodgers confirmed he is looking for more from his creative midfielders:

"We always want more. When you play in those attacking positions it's your job to create and score goals," the manager said.

Frank Augstein/Associated Press

The club's attacking freedom has been its greatest asset this season, while a competition for places has also improved the output of those fighting for a spot in the first team. Nowhere has this been more apparent than at the back, which Rodgers has constantly rotated due to form, injury and strategy.

If Liverpool are going to make the Champions League, Rodgers would be smart to land at least one versatile midfielder before adding further numbers to a defensive lineup that is stacked, and most vitally, improving as a cohesive unit.


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