Saturday, May 26, 2012

Liverpool to demand £20m for wantaway Skrtel

The Reds are determined to hold on to the Slovakian defender, who wants to leave Anfield this summer amid interest from clubs including Manchester City, Juventus and AC Milan



By Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

Liverpool will attempt to deter clubs interested in signing Martin Skrtel this summer by slapping a £20 million price tag on the defender. revealed earlier this month that the Slovakian is unsettled at Anfield and is ready to ask for a transfer as he seeks Champions League football at a club where he can challenge for major honours.

Manchester City, Juventus and AC Milan are among the clubs to have made discreet enquiries for the 27-year-old, who would consider handing in a formal transfer request in order to force through a move away from Merseyside.

But Liverpool are desperate to keep hold of the man voted as the fans’ player of the year following a  season which saw the Reds win the League Cup but finish eighth in the Premier League.

Skrtel will seek talks with the new manager - which looks increasingly likely to be current Wigan boss Roberto Martinez - but Liverpool executives are ready to demand £20m for the former Zenit St Petersburg man.

"It will take an awful lot of money to sign Skrtel this summer," a source told "He is a fantastic defender and Liverpool don't want to be considered a club that sells its best players."

The Reds are also keen to discuss a new contract with Skrtel, whose current deal expires in June 2014.

But the no-nonsense central defender is well aware of interest from big clubs across Europe, although City are believed to consider him as an alternative to Milan’s Thiago Silva, their first choice defensive target.

Skrtel’s agent, Karol Csonto, spoke earlier this month of his client’s plans to sit down with Liverpool and discuss the direction of the club as well as the player’s future.

“Some changes have been made at the club and the player wants to know what the aims and ambitions are," Csonto said.

“We want to discuss with Liverpool what they want and, of course, we will discuss the issue of Martin's new contract.”

In a staged interview on the Liverpool website, Skrtel also insisted he was happy at the club.

He said: "The only thing I can say is it is not true because I have never said anything like I want to leave the club or handed in a transfer request.

"I have a contract at Liverpool and I am happy here at the club. I haven't thought about leaving the club.”

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