Daniel Agger Leaving Liverpool? Here's 4 Centre-Halves To Replace Him...
Toby Alderweireld (Ajax)
Having seen ex-teammates and fellow compatriots Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen leave Ajax to be a success in the Premier League (before being plagued by injuries in Vermaelen’s case) it appears that Alderweireld is next in line for a move to England. A technically gifted defender who loves a shot from range, it took the Belgian international a while to find that level of consistency at the top level, but he has stepped in to Vertonghen’s shoes admirably this season at the Amsterdam Arena. Like Christian Eriksen, who has been strongly linked to Liverpool, his contract expires next season, so Ajax are in a precarious situation with him as they cannot play hardball over his price or they risk losing him next season for nothing - and their business model is built upon developing young talent and selling them on for a tidy profit. His performances may have attracted the interest of other Champions League clubs which may rule him out of a potential move to Anfield, but he’ll likely go to the highest bidder.
Alvaro Dominguez (Gladbach)
The highly-rated Spanish international made a surprise move from then Europa League Champions Atletico Marid to Borussia Monchengladbach last summer. After an impressive season, Gladbach invested significantly in to their playing squad in the hope of qualifying for the Champions League group stages, but were knocked out in the qualifiers, and this season have struggled to overcome the loss of Marco Reus, who joined Borussia Dortmund. Dominguez has settled straight in to Lucien Favre’s side, but with Gladbach way off the pace for a Champions League place, he may be tempted by a move to a more glamorous club that could also increase his chances of becoming a regular in the national team. Comfortable with the ball at his feet, Dominguez is a threat at both ends of the pitch and has plenty of experience for someone who is still only 23, and he can also fill in at left-back, something which may appeal to Rodgers, who lacks any real cover for Jose Enrique.
Bruno Ecuele Manga (Lorient)
Manga joined Christian Gourcruff’s side in 2010, replacing Laurent Koscielny who joined Arsenal, and his consistent performances eventually led to him being given the captains armband at the Stade du Moustoir. The Gabonese centre-back missed six months of action after rupturing knee ligaments back in August, but since his return to action in February has looked every bit the powerful leader he is. His physical playing style is perfect for the hustle and bustle of the Premier League, and at 24 he’s at the perfect age for a bigger move abroad. Had he not suffered such a serious injury it’s likely he would have been linked with a move away in January; as it is, his price this summer may be far more reasonable than otherwise expected, and as Newcastle have proven with their transfer dealings over recent windows, there is plenty of value to be had in Ligue 1. He would add some much needed physicality to Liverpool’s defensive corps.
Nicolas Isimat-Mirin (Valenciennes)
The 21-year-old is a graduate of the prestigious Clairefontaine academy and has established himself as a regular in the Valenciennes side this season. As is to be expected he’s still rather raw and has to refine his game, but knowing he had the best possible youth training should help allay any concerns about his ability to mature with experience. It may be asking a lot for him to come in and play every week in the Premier League, and perhaps another season playing regularly in France would be more beneficial, but Liverpool were linked with a move for Isimat-Mirin in January and this is the sort of signing that fits their profile; he’s out of contract next summer so could be available for less than £5m, which in the long-term would be an absolute steal. Ideally he would be the third or fourth choice centre-back for Rodgers, allowing him to cherry pick when to play him and help him adjust to the English game, but he’s definitely a name to keep an eye on wherever he ends up.