Clubs have always found it difficult to keep a player when bigger ones come calling. The usual response is “He’s not for sale”, but the usual outcome is that the deal is done.
This is a situation that Liverpool has often benefitted from in the past; but now the boot is on the other foot.
Speculation is mounting again about the future of Martin Skrtel. Talks about a new contract don’t seem to be going smoothly. Also, if reports are to be believed, he does not seem to be enthusiastic about where these are going.
The Mail reported, after the Toronto game, that he refused all interviews “including from the club’s in-house television station.”
If this is true, then it seems to be, at the very least, evidence that he doesn’t seem too convinced about his future at Liverpool.
This is not a criticism. The life of a footballer is short. He wants to win things. Liverpool Football Club, from any observer’s view, has gone backwards over recent years.
Yes, they won the Carling Cup, but considering that this was won in the previous year by a club that was relegated this shows where it stands in the scheme of things.
Add to that their declining Premiership finishes over the last three seasons; then it is understandable that his head might be turned by reported interest from the likes of Manchester City.
So, how should Liverpool respond?
Skrtel has undoubtedly had a good season, but the response of the fans is interesting. I recently followed a thread discussing this in a local newspaper. Many (if not most) fans weren’t that concerned. Many simply said “Sell him.”
Their view was that he’d had one good season and that before that, he’d been, if anything, a liability. These fans argued he was prone to errors, unable to use the ball when he had possession; and liable to give away free kicks in dangerous situations.
And if he went?
There is an obvious replacement at the club. Martin Kelly is originally a centre back, although he has been used more as a right back. He has pace and can use a ball. The problem is that this leaves no cover for Johnson until Flanagan has gained more experience.
Then there is Coates; a Uruguayan international. His brief appearances show a player with huge potential. His ability with the ball make Sktrel look even more of a ‘hoofer’.
So, what should Rodgers’ do? I suspect that if this situation was 12 months on, when Flanagan had developed more as cover for right back and Coates had gained more experience, then the answer would be obvious – cash in because there is much better potential within the club.
Perhaps, he should cash in now? If there is no pressure for a top four place this season, then Rodgers could use it as breathing space to bring others through.
It would be interesting to know what our Liverpool fan readers think.
image: © etyek