The departure of Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel is set to be completed later this week.
The 31 year old is set to complete a £5.5m transfer to Fenerbahçe in the coming days, the Turkish side’s president has confirmed.
Skrtel’s Slovakia side were dumped out of Euro 2016 last weekend with an emphatic 3-0 defeat to Germany in the second round, and rather than reporting back to Melwood for pre-season training, it now appears as though he will be heading straight to Itstanbul.
In a quote carried by the Liverpool Echo, Aziz Yildirim told Turkish outlet AMK Spor that moves for Skrtel and Paris Saint-Germain right back Gregory van der Wiel were nearing completion:
“[Gregory] Van der Wiel and Slovak Skrtel transfers are almost done.”
The move brings to an end Skrtel’s eight year association with Liverpool. Signed from Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg by Rafa Benítez in January 2008 for £6.5m, the central defender went on to make over 300 appearances for the club in all competitions.
He scored a number of big goals against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, who at one point were reportedly prepared to pay big money to bring him to the Etihad.
In terms of trophies, Skrtel was unfortunate to be at Anfield during a particularly barren run for the club – he leaves with only a League Cup 2012 winners’ medal (a game in which he scored).
Injuries and poor form last year meant it was always going to be difficult to impress new Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp – and a disastrous second half showing in the 3-2 capitulation to Southampton in March effectively sealed his fate at the club.
Even with Kolo Touré also leaving, the arrival of Schalke defender Joel Matip had meant that Skrtel was likely to be pushed further down the pecking order, and with 19 year old prospect Joe Gomez returning to fitness, chances for the defender to appear in the side would have been few and far between.
With the fee agreed between the two clubs, Skrtel’s arrival back from the European Championships are likely to speed the process up massively.