Martin Skrtel is finally on the verge of completing his proposed switch from Liverpool to Fenerbahce after official confirmation that discussions over personal terms are now set to get underway. The experienced and uncompromising centre-back is set to bid farewell to Anfield after eight years and 320 appearances and temporarily becoming the most expensive defensive recruit in the club's history following his move from Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Skrtel's exit has been long expected after he slipped behind the likes of Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho in Jurgen Klopp's defensive pecking order last season due to a combination of poor form and a hamstring strain that ruled him out for three months between December and March. It was also widely reported last month that Liverpool had accepted a £5.5m ($7.1m) bid for his services from Istanbul, although the player's agent subsequently confirmed that his client had also been the subject of offers from an unnamed suitor in China as well as Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg.
He further denied any interest from Turkish clubs Besiktas and Galatasaray which left Fenerbahce free to pursue a deal without the added nuisance of competition from their fierce domestic rivals. A potential agreement was then delayed by Skrtel's involvement at Euro 2016, where he captained Slovakia in their first European Championship campaign as an independent nation since breaking away from the Czech Republic 23 years ago.
The 31-year-old made four appearances as the tournament debutants escaped Group B as a third-place qualifier after bouncing back from their narrow opening defeat to Wales by beating woeful Russia and securing a goalless draw against England - a gritty clash in which the physical Skrtel was in his element. They eventually bowed out at the last-16 stage with an emphatic loss to world champions Germany. Skrtel's impending exit from Liverpool follows a rather embarrassing episode on Instagram, where he issued a public apology after derogatory comments made by a friend about Klopp.
Klopp, who has reportedly already been approached by Liverpool's American owners regarding a contract extension, is certainly wasting no time in reshaping his squad this summer. Having already secured the signing of out-of-contract Schalke defender Joel Matip, the charismatic German has also moved quickly to recruit up-and-coming goalkeeper Loris Karius and £34m Southampton forward Sadio Mane. Jose Enrique, Samed Yesil and Kolo Toure have all been released.
In further transfer news Jordan Rossiter has joined Scottish Premiership newcomers Rangers and Joao Carlos Teixeira moved to FC Porto. A £4m compensatory figure was also agreed with Watford for wantaway striker Jerome Sinclair. According to the latest reports from the BBC, Bournemouth have now seen a £15m club-record bid accepted for England U21 winger Jordon Ibe.