Arsene Wenger's bid to cure Arsenal's defensive ills has led the Gunners chief to Liverpool's doorstep, with Daniel Agger the latest centre-back to be targeted as Thomas Vermaelen eyes the Emirates exit.
It makes perfect sense for the Dane to be pursued by Wenger, too, as the Daily Star's Gary Jones argues that the back-line horde emerging at Anfield could leave Brendan Rodgers with surplus options.
The £20 million arrival of Dejan Lovren has added to the existing ranks of Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Kolo Toure, Tiago Ilori, Martin Kelly and Sebastian Coates.
Wenger could very viably make the situation work in his favour as he looks to sign the out-of-favour Agger, whom Jones quotes in hinting he'd be open to a move away from Merseyside:
It is no secret that I had problems last season and I am considering things. How things turned out last season is not sustainable for me. I am here now and it is up to me to show the coach that I should play.
Sakho, Skrtel, Toure and now Lovren will assuredly garner starting honours ahead of Agger if last season is anything to go by. And even though Vermaelen wasn't the most prominent figure at Arsenal last term either, his departure would still require reinforcement.
In late July, the Daily Mail reported that Liverpool were close to selling Agger to Barcelona for a fee of £12 million, thought to be a similar fee to that which could eventually see Vermaelen leave north London:
Holding on to Vermaelen might still be an option, but the prospect of losing the defender for free in 2015 is one that won't appeal to Arsenal, following claims from Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail that the Belgian is unwilling to pen a new contract.
By no means would Agger be guaranteed to depose Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, Wenger's current centre-back bastions, from their throne.
However, in terms of Premier League experience and an assured, left-footed option who can soften the blow of any injuries that might occur, there aren't many more sensible routes.
Sky Football's Matthew Stanger rightly indicates how far Agger's star has fallen in recent years. However, that doesn't mean the 29-year-old's days among the elite have to be done; he merely needs the most accommodating opportunities possible:
It's not a changing of the guard they'd make profit from, admittedly. Agger is a similar age to Vermaelen, and any contract signed could well be the last of his career at the top level.
However, if the Gunners were to take their time in searching for the next heir to the centre-back throne while giving Koscielny and Mertesacker their space to breathe and develop as the natural starters, Agger is a savvy buy.
|2013-14 Premier League: Agger vs. Vermaelen Comparison|
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His presence would give the club comfort in knowing the cover they have at the back is of a good standard, although not quite so mighty as to ruffle any feathers in the squad.
Scottish broadcaster Graham Ruthven, meanwhile, questions Manchester United's pursuit of Vermaelen, which will, of course, be critical if Arsenal are to have a spot to fill in the first place:
A drop in form has seen Agger suffer at Anfield in the last year or two, succumbing to the pressure for places that for some years will have been unknown to him.
Now, when his stock is at its lowest, Arsenal have the power to gain from a stock that could well rise in value if nurtured correctly and given the freedom to find its strength once again.
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