By Andy Hunter
Manchester City have been told they will have to pay more than £22m to lure Daniel Agger from Liverpool, having made an informal approach for the Denmark international.
The Premier League champions have registered their interest in the 27-year-old with Liverpool, who are reluctant to lose the stylish defender but have yet to finalise a new contract with a player who has two years remaining on his current deal.
City value Agger at about £18m, though have not submitted an offer, but it would take an improved fee to tempt Liverpool to sell. The Anfield club considers the £22m that City paid to Everton for Joleon Lescott in 2009 as a benchmark figure on Agger, a player who would threaten the England international’s first-team place at the Etihad Stadium, although could be interested in a cash-plus-player deal. Adam Johnson is a potential makeweight having found his chances limited under Roberto Mancini towards the end of last season.
Agger has had serious injury problems throughout his six years at Liverpool but would represent a major loss to the manager, Brendan Rodgers, should City further their interest. He was omitted from the Liverpool squad that travelled to Belarus to play FC Gomel in the Europa League third qualifying round last week but that, Rodgers later revealed, was to allow the centre-half to work on his conditioning at Melwood. Agger’s agent, Per Steffensen, claimed he was unaware of the reason for the omission and denied that Liverpool had offered his client a new contract.
Craig Bellamy is closer to an Anfield exit and could complete a return to Cardiff City within days. Rodgers had wanted to keep the 34-year-old at Liverpool but the club has reluctantly granted the striker’s request to be closer to his family in south Wales. Queens Park Rangers are also keen on the Wales international, who is now available to complete a transfer following Team GB’s elimination from the Olympic Games, but his preference is to rejoin his hometown club where he spent 2010-11 on loan.
Liverpool are expected to advance efforts to sign Joe Allen following Team GB’s elimination at the Olympics and Michael Laudrup, who replaced Rodgers as the Swansea City manager, will hold talks with the £15m-rated midfielder about his future on Wednesday. Swansea have rejected an approach of £12m plus Jonjo Shelvey on a season-long loan from Liverpool and issued a statement accusing Rodgers of reneging on a written agreement not to sign their players for 12 months after his own move to Merseyside.
Laudrup said: “Joe Allen showed up today at the training ground, he did not train but I had a small chat with him, but we did not touch the subject right now. I did not think it was the proper moment, but we will have to talk about that with the player to see what he wants so we can say something official, otherwise the rumours will go on until 31 August, which is not in anyone’s interest. On Wednesday he will be back in training with the other two guys who have been at the Olympics and then we will have some talks so it does not go on until the last day of the transfer window.”