After discovering the extent of Matija Nastasic’s ankle injury, Manchester City may well seek out central defensive reinforcement before the summer transfer window is sealed shut, and Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel could well be on their radar.
Serbian Nastasic has been ruled out of action for six weeks after suffering the setback during his side’s Asia Trophy participation. This will come as a real blow for Manuel Pellegrini ahead of the new campaign after the youngster established himself as the ideal partner for Vincent Kompany at the heart of their defence.
The Citizens can be backed as 9/4 second favourites to regain the Premier League crown they lost last season, but this latest injury concern highlights just how light they are in the defensive department.
Aside from Nastasic and Kompany, their only recognised centre back is Joleon Lescott, who was deemed inadequate by Roberto Mancini last term. There’s no guarantee that Pellegrini will share this belief, but three bona fide centre halves isn’t enough to seriously compete in the top flight and Champions League.
A move for Skrtel could be a reasonably priced solution to their problem, though they will have to fend off interest from the Slovakian’s former coach, Rafa Benitez, who is believed to be extremely keen to bring him to Napoli.
Skrtel fell out of favour with Brendan Rodgers in the second half of the previous campaign, in which veteran Jamie Carragher was coaxed out of the old people’s home to take his place in the Liverpool team.
His perceived lack of ability in possession is one of the reasons why Rodgers shelved Skrtel, but Pellegrini isn’t as obsessed with this style as much as the Northern Irishman. The Slovakian’s burly, almost old-fashioned approach to centre-halvery could well endear him to City’s Chilean coach and he shouldn’t be perturbed about the prospect of tugging the second string at the Etihad.
With the club competing on four fronts, he’s sure to get plenty of game time in a side with an immeasurably improved prospect of winning silverware this season. The move would make perfect sense for both parties.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date