Liverpool's Martin Skrtel Reportedly a Shock Transfer Target of Manchester City

Ben Blackmore@@Blackmore_BRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2014

Liverpool's Martin Skrtel, centre, celebrates after scoring his first goal against Arsenal during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Saturday Feb. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Manchester City are set to test Martin Skrtel’s loyalty to the Liverpool cause, according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.

Mokbel writes that Skrtel is wanted by Manuel Pellegrini to partner Vincent Kompany, boosting a City defence that has been penetrable throughout the season:

Manuel Pellegrini will be in the market for a new central-defender with Joleon Lescott almost certain to leave the Etihad Stadium this summer. And Skrtel is emerging as a prime target for City in their search for Vincent Kompany’s next partner.


He wants to play Champions League football and with Liverpool still on course to qualify, Skrtel remains hopeful of achieving his goal at Anfield.

However, City are ready to pounce should (Brendan) Rodgers’ side once again fail to make the top four.

City’s defence has been their weakness this season, shipping more goals (27) than fellow title contenders Arsenal and Chelsea.

Kompany remains one of the most authoritative centre-backs in the Premier League, but first-choice partner Matija Nastasic has been injured for the majority of the season, while Joleon Lescott does not appear to have the trust of Pellegrini.

Martin Demichelis has been something of a liability since his introduction to English football, summed up by his poor piece of positional play that resulted in his red card against Barcelona:

By contrast, Skrtel has been something of a rock in an injury-ravaged Liverpool defence this term. Daniel Agger, Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho have all faced spells on the sidelines, but Skrtel has maintained impressive form.

If City do make a move for the experienced defender, they can play on the fact Skrtel was nearly forced out of Anfield last summer, confirmed in an interview with the Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce:

I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about leaving.

It wasn’t easy for me after last season. I was on the bench in the second part of the season and that was something new for me.

A potential deal would also provide a double benefit for City, who can weaken a rival while boosting their own squad.

This is a tactic that has seen the likes of Celtic and—previously—Rangers extend the gulf in quality between themselves and the rest of Scottish football for years.

By buying their rivals’ best players, they created a monopoly at the top of the SPL prior to Rangers’ meltdown.

It would be harder for the likes of City to pull off such a trick in the Premier League due to the amount of TV money swimming around, but with Liverpool currently only a point behind them heading into the weekend fixtures, it might make sense to weaken the Reds prior to next season.