With Liverpool’s contract negotiations with a now disgruntled Martin Skrtel looking to have progressed no further, the Reds are starting to be linked with increasing regularity to a host of central defenders that could step in and fill the boots of the Slovakian hard-man should he make a move away from Merseyside.
The front-runner before the season ended was towering Real Sociedad defender Inigio Martinez, but with his hefty price-tag and potential negotiations with ex-Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes throwing a spanner in the works, his compatriot in Barcelona center-half Marc Bartra has emerged as a possible alternative with the youngster looking increasingly likely to leave the Champions League winners at some point this summer.
Making only a handful of appearances for the Catalan club as Luis Enrique’s side won the treble last season has apparently set-off a switch in his contract which has made his services much more accessible — something he’s confirmed himself. “Release clause lowered? Yes, it’s been lowered to €12 million,” he said following Spain’s friendly win over Central American side Costa Rica last week before moving the subject along with the typical, non-committal, “We’ll wait and see what happens.”
What’s likely to happen is someone is going to try to snap him up with German giants Bayern Munich — managed by former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola — and a host of other clubs interested in making the promising 24-year old a part of their squad. Liverpool have only recently been linked with an interest in the defender, and though he’s likely to only be the flavour of the week, they could do worse than to pursue this particular option further.