DURING A SUMMER in which his central defensive partner Martin Skrtel has been linked here, there, everywhere and then some, Liverpool fans have at least rested comfortable in the knowledge that Daniel Agger – the brains of the operation – was staying put.
It seems that the Dane has told Brendan Rodgers that he wants away from Anfield and Manchester City are ready to switch their gaze from one Reds centre-back to another. However, Real Madrid and Barcelona also have their beady eyes on the 27-year-old and chances are that he would choose a move to Spain rather than Eastlands. Wouldn’t you?
No word on who Liverpool might replace Agger with, but faith might yet be shown in Sebastian Coates, who impressed in his fleeting appearances last season.
He did this, remember?
Sunderland are picking over the bones of Wolves’ relegation from the Premier League, and those bones arrive in the shape of Steven Fletcher.
The 25-year-old Scottish striker was the only bright spark as the Molineux club replaced Mick McCarthy with Terry Connor before ending up back in the Championship.
“Our best players are not for sale; we want to keep them and build the strongest possible team for the season ahead. We will do everything we can to retain the players we want to keep and continue to look to strengthen with new signings,” fibbed Wolves’ chief executive Jez Moxey, who doubtless just wants the best price he can possibly get for a man who has two years left on his contract.
Sunderland are in dire need of striking reinforcements, having lost both Nicklas Bendtner and Asamoah Gyan this summer.
No Black Cat scored more than eight last season (Bendtner and Stephane Sessegnon), and Martin O’Neill is concerned.
“We know where the problem is. You just need to look at our scoring record last season,” the Sunderland boss said last week. “This puts pressure on other players to score, either from set-pieces or midfield.
“Eventually centre-forwards have to weigh in and, at the moment, you would want to know who and when someone is going to score 15 goals in a Premier League season.”
It seems to be more a day of ‘staying puts,’ oddly enough.
There might be some life left in Andriy Arshavin’s Arsenal career after all, with reports suggesting that Arsene Wenger could bring the enigmatic Russian back into the Gunners fold.
“Arshavin, it depends. We have to sit together and talk. He could still have a future at the club,” said the professorial one.
Not so a bunch of other North London benchwarmers.
“Bendtner, Squillaci and Park will be on their way to go somewhere,” said Wenger. We don’t foresee a lot of tears.
Stop the press/don’t click the mouse! Alex Bruce has joined Hull from no fixed abode. Bruce, of course, is the son of Steve, who is the manager of… yeah. You get it.
In semi-interesting news, Steven Pienaar has decided to go all ‘Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind’ on that appearance he made for Tottenham and complete his permanent move back to Everton for £4.5m.
What else? Alberto Aquilani did not fly back to Liverpool with the rest of his team-mates after their North American tour, as he looks to secure a move back to Italy.
Brendan Rodgers, like Kenny Dalglish and Roy Hodgson before him, does not see what Rafael Benitez saw in the Italian 28-year-old, who seems to have made more pre-season than competitive appearances for the Reds in the three years since he joined the club from Roma.
Fiorentina are favourites to sign a man who earns double the wages of Jamie Carragher in one week at Melwood – a nominal fee will be the best Rodgers can hope for, with Liverpool unwilling to send Aquilani out on loan yet again.