News that Liverpool may be forced to sell Daniel Agger should Manchester City match their valuation of the player seems to have been met with a chorus of disapproval from the Anfield faithful, after Brendan Rodgers admitted the Danish defender was not certain to stay on Merseyside this season.
The Reds boss is understandably keen to retain the services of the 27-year-old, despite two inquiries from City's football administrator Brian Marwood about Agger's availability this summer.
Having indicated they would be willing to bid around ¬£18million for the centre-back, Liverpool are believed to be holding out for a fee closer to the £22million the Citizens paid Everton for Joleon Lescott in 2009.
"Every player has a price. But no manager wants to lose his best players," conceded Rodgers. "Top centre-halves are at a premium. Take Thiago Silva - he left AC Milan to go to Paris St Germain for £40million. So it has to be a big valuation.
"Daniel is one of the leading players in European football at centre-half. Is he a player I want to lose? No he's not. But like any club, if an offer comes in that is in the best interests of the club, of course you have to look at it.
"From a football perspective, do I want to lose Daniel Agger? Not really. He can be a really pivotal player for me, he understands how I want to work. But I am a realist. And the reality is that if a club comes in with a massive bid then the club may have to look at it. You can never say never."
There's no doubt that Agger - when fit - is one of the best defenders in the Premier League, but Liverpool fans needn't worry, he is hardly irreplaceable. £20million should be regarded as a very generous offer for his services, and with that money it wouldn't take too strenuous a search to find a suitable successor. If Rodgers' past transfer dealings are anything to go by, the club may even find itself with change left over.
Reports linking them with Wales international Ashley Williams will do little to restore confidence, even if the Swans stopper is a considerably better player than he is given credit for. But there are a number of other more viable options to consider.
Atletico Madrid's Uruguayan defender Diego Godin is available for ¬£9million, and would fit in with a growing contingent of South American stars at Anfield. Alternatively, Montpellier's Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa - who can operate anywhere across the back line - also attracting interest from Arsenal, would cost even less than that, around £7-8million.
Celtic's Charlie Mulgrew is another name to have been mooted, as is Lyon's Croatian stopper Dejan Lovren - both players at good ages, and still with their best years ahead of them. Agger's international team-mate, Simon Kjaer could also fill the prospective void left by his compatriot at Anfield.
After an impressive showing for Denmark at Euro 2012, the 23-year-old has already made clear his intentions to leave Wolfsburg this summer, and would cost only a fraction of Agger's price.
That's not to say that City would be wasting their money on Agger, either. The formation of a central defensive partnership between himself and Vincent Kompany would be great, and a considerable improvement on Roberto Mancini's other first-choice option of Lescott.
The England international has come on leaps and bounds at the Etihad Stadium, and had a strong second half of 2011-12, carrying his form into the European Championships. But, in terms of where City are now, and where they want to go in the future, Lescott's ability falls just short.
The fact that he commanded a fee even close to the £30million Manchester United paid to sign Rio Ferdinand from Leeds United in 2002 - a record transfer for a defender - reflects the inflated market price three years ago, as opposed to his true quality and potential.
If Liverpool need to sell to buy, the reality is that Agger will be sold. You just have to hope that Rodgers gets it right when identifying a replacement. After all, transfers - both incoming and outgoing - send out a strong message to players, and fans about a club's aspirations moving forward.
Agger is a strong personality at Melwood, regarded as one of the Reds' star players, so Liverpool will need something up their sleeves, if they choose to cash-in.
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