The futures of defensive duo Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson remain uncertain amid speculation that neither is entirely content with life at Anfield…
There has already been plenty of talk concerning possible summer incomings but there are also a number of existing players who need to sort out their respective futures.
In addition to a host of returning loanees, defensive stalwarts Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson face uncertainty after mixed seasons at Anfield.
Crowd favourite Agger, 29, largely featured as backup to fellow centre-backs Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho last season, particularly in the latter stages of the campaign.
The Dane, not for the first time, also had injury problems to contend with and made just 23 appearances in total.
One of the club’s longest-serving players, Agger signed for the Reds back in January 2006 and was handed the vice-captaincy last summer following Jamie Carragher‘s retirement.
Speculation around his future is nothing new – Barcelona and Manchester City were heavily linked in the past – but this time it has been further fuelled by comments made by the player.
Speaking about his season to Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet, Agger is quoted as saying: “It definitely wasn’t great. But I don’t make the decisions. I think it is because the manager doesn’t think that I’m good enough.”
In relation to whether or not he will remain with the Merseysiders next season, the ex-Brondby star replied: “I don’t know. That’s up to the manager. I can’t go and put myself on the team sheet.”
When asked if he could live with remaining a reserve for Brendan Rodgers‘ side, Agger added: “No, I’m no one’s third choice.
“I’m not thinking about my future. Now my focus is on the next international games with Denmark and then I’m looking forward to a long five-week holiday.
“My body and my mind needs to relax.”
After conceding 50 goals last term, Rodgers is known to be on the look out for central defensive reinforcements – Dejan Lovren and Steven Caulker have been linked – which puts an even bigger question mark over Agger’s Liverpool career.
Like Agger, Anfield colleague Johnson also endured a period on the sidelines last term but managed 30 appearances and generally featured from the off when fit.
Unlike the Dane, his future is up in the air as a consequence of a contractual situation as opposed to any indifference from the manager.
Rodgers recently stated his intention to retain the right-back but, with just 12 months left on his existing deal, the two parties have so far failed to agree terms on an extension.
The Guardian are amongst a number of sources stating the length of contract on offer, as opposed to a proposed drop in Johnson’s current £120,000-a-week wage, is the main sticking point.
The England international, also 29, has reportedly been offered an extra year to take him through to 2016 but the ex-Chelsea man wants longer.
With the club apparently prepared to keep him whatever happens, Johnson could easily end up leaving on a free transfer in 12 months time.
That would represent a bold stance by a club who paid £17.5million to capture him from Portsmouth in June 2009.
There is no doubt the defence needs strengthening and also that existing personnel will be leaving over the coming months.
Rodgers’ apparent antipathy towards Agger is a slight surprise given his technical ability and the high-regard in which he is held by many other observers. Given Skrtel was virtually ever present last season and Sakho is a big money signing with time on his side, Agger’s position does look vulnerable.
Unfortunately for the club, at this stage of his career and with such a chequered injury record, the popular figure is unlikely to fetch much money – perhaps as little as £5million.
Johnson, meanwhile, is likely to stay one way or another but the uncertainty over his future isn’t ideal, especially if he heads into next year knowing the campaign will be his last with the club.
The attacking full-back has always been an acquired taste but personally I rate him highly and believe he is ideally suited to the way we currently play. Add in his versatility and experience and I can see why Rodgers is considering retaining Johnson next season even if no new contract is signed.
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