Martin Skrtel has dropped down the pecking orders at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, and the Slovak defender could be set to join Turkish club Besiktas at the end of the season.
The central defensive partnership of Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren has blossomed during Skrtel’s absence through injury, and now the Slovakian is finding hard to get back into the first team again.
With Kolo Toure preferred alongside Lovren in the aftermath of Sakho’s failed drug test, it is becoming increasingly clear that the 31-year-old does not feature prominently in Klopp’s plans.
Lucas Leiva has been selected ahead of Skrtel at various points this season, and with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez set to bolster Klopp’s team ahead of 2016/17, the writing could be on the wall for the long-serving Liverpool defender.
Sakho’s failed drug test means the Frenchman could be serving a lengthy ban and he is likely to miss out a major part of next season along with the reminder of Liverpool’s 2015/16 campaign. Even in his absence, it is hard to see Skrtel being favoured, as he could find himself fourth or fifth choice next season.
If the Slovak wants a change in scenery, Besiktas could provide a welcome destination, as recent reports suggest the Turkish club have reignited their interest in the Reds defender in recent weeks.
According to Turkish media outlet Fanatik, Besiktas have opened talks already with the Reds to lure the defender away from Anfield.
Skrtel was wanted by the Turkish giants last summer when talks over a new contract had stalled, but he eventually decided to continue at Anfield after putting pen to paper on a new lucrative deal.
Being on first-choice wages, thought to be around £75k-per-week, his situation will not appease the Liverpool owner Fenway Sport Group and therefore a move to Istanbul would suit all parties involved.
Skrtel should grab this opportunity with both hands, as it would not only provide him a fresh start but playing in a less pressurised environment would allow him prolong his playing career as well.
Almost every Liverpool fans acknowledge his contributions over the years, but the general feeling now rests among the supporters is that he is not suited to the high pressing system under Klopp. His inability to function in a high defensive line is a major problem and Liverpool will have to revert to other systems in order to accommodate him.
With Klopp already looking to build the squad to his own image where Skrtel doesn’t feature in his primary plans, Besiktas may feel they have a good chance of signing the Reds defender next summer.