Martin Skrtel future to be decided as agent jets in for crunch talks with Liverpool

The defender has been linked with a move away

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel's future could be decided next week with his agent due to fly in for talks.

Speculation about the Slovakia international has been widespread ever since he lost his first-team place to the now-retired Jamie Carragher in January.

He has recently been linked to a reunion with Rafael Benitez - the man who took him to Anfield - after the Spaniard was appointed Napoli coach.

And although agent Karol Csonto has told the Italian club they will have to approach the Reds first he did not dismiss the idea of the 28-year-old moving to Serie A.

"There has been no contact between the two clubs. Martin has a contract with Liverpool and it is important to honour that," he told Italian station Radio Crc.

"Obviously Napoli know Martin well, but there cannot be any contact between us and them if they do not first reach an agreement with Liverpool.

"Between Martin Skrtel and Rafa Benitez is a professional relationship that has gone on from the years they spent together at Liverpool.

"[Napoli midfielder] Marek Hamsik and Skrtel are very good friends and they met last week.

"The midfielder requested information from Martin about Benitez, while Skrtel has asked questions about Napoli.

"But I think that if Napoli want to take Skrtel, they should first talk to Liverpool.

"I will be in England next week to talk with Liverpool and define Martin's future."

Liverpool are tracking Schalke centre-back Kyriakos Papadopoulos as a replacement for Carragher but they also have interest in other targets as the future of Skrtel and Sebastian Coates means there could be a major reshuffle in defence.

Ajax's Toby Alderweireld is also believed to be on Rodgers' watch list and the player gave the Reds boss every encouragement by stating his intent to move to England.

"England and Germany are the best leagues where I think I can take the next step," the 24-year-old Belgian told De Telegraaf.

"I have to go somewhere where I can play football a bit and where my style of play suits.

"On the other hand, I do not want to play for a team at the bottom of their league.

"I want to leave Ajax for a nice club, otherwise I'll just stay in Amsterdam."

One player closer to an Anfield switch is Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas, who is due on Merseyside for a medical.

A deal worth about £7.7million has been in place for a couple of weeks but progress was held up by the end to the Spanish season.

Celta survived relegation on the final day and since then the Reds have been trying to finalise arrangements for the 25-year-old to visit the club's Melwood training ground for physical assessment.

That is expected to be advanced in the new couple of days with the playing telling Spanish media over the weekend: "I was forced to cancel my holiday in the Caribbean but the reason I did more than justifies why.

"When I heard of Liverpool's interest I did not hesitate even for a minute.

"Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world and although I had offers from Italy and Portugal and other countries I decided my future was in English football."

Aspas is set to Rodgers' second signing of the summer, following Kolo Toure to Anfield after the centre-back's contract expired with Manchester City.

A third could also be in the offing in the form of Luis Alberto but further movement cannot be made on that until later this week at the earliest.

The 20-year-old has been on loan at Barcelona B from Sevilla and the Catalan club have first option to sign the striker permanently but Press Association Sport understands Thursday appears to be decision day on that front.

Alberto, who scored 11 goals in 37 second-tier appearances, has been capped by Spain Under-21s.

"It would be foolish and deluded for me to say no to a club like Liverpool but as far as I know, there's nothing," the youngster told Spanish reporters at the weekend.

Rodgers is keen to offload striker Andy Carroll, who is stalling on a move to West Ham where he spent last season on loan despite a deal worth £15million-plus being in place for several weeks.

The delay does not appear to have put off the Hammers, with boss Sam Allardyce telling whufc.com: "At this moment in time, our first priority is signing Andy Carroll, if we can.

"(The off-season is) about the recruitment of the other players who we want as quickly as we possibly can.

"That will be the most difficult part of this summer."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea