Liverpool defender Daniel Agger has been targeted by Spanish champions Barcelona, as the Catalan club are looking to find a quality defender to replace the ageing Carles Puyol and bolster their defence.
The La Liga giants have previously looked at David Luiz of Chelsea but were told to cough-up minimum £40 million to enter into any negotiations for the Brazilian. As a result of which, the Spanish champions have turned their attention to the Reds defender, who would cost much less than the Chelsea star.
Barcelona’s interest in Agger is nothing new. The Blaugrana had enquired about him in the past, but were knocked back by the Reds manager Brendan Rodgers. Although, no concrete offer has been submitted for him, but Liverpool must ensure, they do not lose the Denmark skipper, no matter how lucrative an offer is dangled in front of them.
Simply coz, Agger is vital to Liverpool’s success as much as any other top player at the club. Having been at the club since 2006, signed by then-manager Rafael Benitez, Agger is now one of the senior players at the club.
With Jamie Carragher already retired, Martin Skrtel’s future lying away from Anfield, Kolo Toure new to the Liverpool system despite his vast experience and a new goal keeper behind, there is an extra responsibility on his shoulders to lead from the back, guide newcomers and youngsters, and maintain the defensive shape intact during matches.
But most importantly, he is needed exactly for the same reason why Barcelona are trying to buy him. In the last few years, we have seen, Barcelona adhering to tiki-taka style of football, where the role of a ball-playing defender is paramount.
In order to have that, Barcelona have tried to convert defensive midfielders with good passing abilities into centre-backs, for example, the likes of Javier Mascherano and Alex Song. It is for the same reason they wanted to buy Javi Martinez too, when he was at Athletic Bilbao.
Luiz and Agger are both ball playing defenders. They like to move with the ball, engineer brilliant attacks from the back, apart from protecting the backline of course. While Luiz can be vulnerable at times, especially during defending, Agger has a more assured presence at the back. His immaculate positional sense and understanding of the game helps him to intercept passes more than going for straight tackles. He made only 36 tackles last season, but the numbers are just opposite, when considering the total interceptions he made.
Rodgers doesn’t endorse tiki-taka style of football. Rather, he believes in a philosophy called death-by-football, where the central motto is to build up the attack from the back. Even though Rodgers changed the playing style to more direct, in the second half of the season, but the basic style of developing the game from the back has remained the same.
Strong physical players like Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Liverpool’s target) and Kolo Toure therefore theoretically would be just ideal beside a ball playing defender like Agger, and should make a perfect combination.
And with the veteran Dane due to receive the vice captaincy soon, Agger’ value to Liverpool is immeasurable in terms of what he offers on and off the pitch. And in order to achieve what FSG and Rodgers aim, Agger departing could have a potentially damaging impact on the Anfield outfit.