English champions Manchester City are reportedly targeting Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel after news emerged the 27 year old Slovakian was still to come to terms with the Reds over a new contract, a Daily Mail report said.
The player was voted the club's Player of the Season and still has two years on his present deal but the club is wary of allowing him to run down the contract, much as Arsenal have done with striker Robin van Persie. The stalemate, though, seems to have alerted Roberto Mancini at the Etihad Stadium, who earlier expressed an interest in AC Milan's Brazilian centre back Thiago Silva. Unfortunately the £40mn asking fee for the player made any deal impossible. The alternative - Skrtel - will come much cheaper but in no way compromise on quality. However, new Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is determined to hold talks and convince Skrtel to continue at Anfield when the Slovakian returns from his honeymoon.
Apart from Manchester City, Skrtel has also attracted the interest of big-spending Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. Nevertheless, Karol Cstonto (Skrtel's agent) says his client will first talk with Rodgers before deciding on his future.
"Some changes have been made at the club and he wants to know what the aims and ambitions are. And of course, we will discuss the issue of Martin's new contract. Liverpool is a big club and just because they haven't made the Champions League this year doesn't mean they would not do it next year. There are expectations on both sides, though," The Sun reported Cstonto as saying.
Despite a poor run in the Premier League last season, Liverpool have been defensively very good due to the excellent performances of Skrtel and Denmark captain Daniel Agger. The good news for Rodgers is that Agger, unlike Skrtel, is ready give a long-term commitment to the club.
Meanwhile, Rodgers' successor at Swansea City, the Dane Michael Laudrup, who was given a two year deal, will be handed a £15mn war chest, according to The Sun. The former Spartak Moscow boss is targeting a number of players including Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner and Werder Bremen striker Markus Rosenberg.