If there’s one thing that Liverpool haven’t been very good at during what has been a very impressive transfer window, it’s saying goodbye.
As seen in a report from Jim White of the Daily Telegraph, Barcelona now insist that the departed Luis Suarez was worth £65 million as opposed to the £75 million that was widely reported elsewhere, whilst Pepe Reina’s distinguished Reds career—he was one of the best goalkeepers in Europe between 2006 and 2009 according to Jamie Carragher–ended with him being bundled out of the door and shipped off to the Bayern Munich substitutes’ bench without much fanfare.
Those goodbyes will have to get more frequent in the next few weeks, though.
Oussama Assaidi, Sebastian Coates and Fabio Borini would appear to have no future at the club following recent arrivals, whilst Jordon Ibe, Jack Robinson and perhaps even Suso may have loan spells away on the horizon. Martin Kelly has gone, Andre Wisdom has been loaned out again. There is no one that an exit would benefit more than Daniel Agger, though.
The latter seasons of the Dane’s eight-and-a-half year Anfield stay have been curious ones to say the least.
After playing under Rafael Benitez, Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish, the arrival of Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool in 2012 was supposed to suit Agger’s playing style perfectly, and for a while it did.
Elegant and able to bring the ball out of defence like few other centre-backs in Europe, Agger enjoyed his most injury-free run in the Reds side in Rodgers’ first campaign in charge, playing 35 times in the Premier League as he recovered from a red card in a 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion—the inauspicious beginning to Rodgers’ Liverpool reign which now seems like a lifetime ago.
Agger was managed well, with those 35 appearances only joined by four more in the Europa League as Rodgers rested him for the big occasions. Then the hurricane that was Liverpool’s 2013/14 season hit, and the Dane was somewhat blown away.
They were niggling injuries this time as opposed to anything more serious, but Agger only played 20 times in the league as Liverpool’s defence—like pretty much everything else about their campaign—was turned upside down.
Martin Skrtel started the season surplus to requirements and ended it second only to Jordan Henderson for the most appearances by a Liverpool outfield player. Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho also played their parts, with Agger fading from view until he scored on the final day of the season against Newcastle, a match which at one point had promised so much but ended up falling flat.
It is too harsh to blame Liverpool’s failings in defence last season on individuals, but if there is one man they seemed to affect more than most, it was Agger.
Lacking the self-confidence of Skrtel, the personality of Toure or the power of Sakho, Agger’s displays seemingly planted seeds of doubt in Rodgers’ mind, with the issue of leadership from the back sending the Reds boss towards Dejan Lovren. With Agger having been installed as his vice-captain a year earlier, it was a pretty damning indictment.
Now, where once they would have regarded him as one of their best assets, Liverpool fans are left looking quizzically at Agger’s continued presence at the club.
The money shelled out on Sakho and Lovren in successive summers ensures that they take precedence over him, with Skrtel joining them through sheer force of will and Toure sticking around for another year to keep an eye on ex-Manchester City teammate Mario Balotelli and probably play in the domestic cups.
At 29, Agger finds himself in exactly the same position that Reina was in last year. He has gone stale and needs a move to resurrect his career.
Whereas he has had the likes of Manchester City (BBC) and Barcelona (Independent) interested in him in the past, perhaps following Reina’s lead and heading back to Benitez could be the way to go. The Daily Star did link him to the Spaniard’s club Napoli recently.
Crucially though, this would need to be a permanent transfer and not another loan. Agger is still just about of an age where Liverpool could get a decent fee for him, and removing his wages from the payroll would certainly be welcomed too.
That would be a “win” situation for the Reds, and with Darren Lewis’ Daily Mirror report detailing a somewhat distressed Agger pleading for a move away, it would hopefully be a “win” for the player too.
Having helped deliver Liverpool plenty of victories over his time at the club he would certainly deserve to leave with his head held high, but right now just leaving full stop would seem to be what is best for all concerned.
This particular goodbye might be a tough one, but it has now become essential.
Hopefully it can be handled with care.
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