‘Premier League’s Most Wanted’ – Simon Kjaer

At only the age of 21, Palermo’s Simon Kjaer has already established himself as a big-name player in the Italian football scene.

A number of clubs around Europe have already expressed their interest in the young centre-back which will surely see a scrap for his signature this summer.

Simon Kjaer started playing football for Lund IF, a small-time club near Horsens before making a move to the youth team of FC Midtjylland in 2004. In 2006 he made his first senior debut for the club in the Viasat Cup training matches and was promoted to the senior first-team a year later. Real Madrid could have signed the Dane after having a successful trail with the Spanish giants in August 2007, although, Midtjylland refused the offer that was put on the table. Instead, Kjaer signed a new five-year deal a month later.

Kjaer had attracted the likes of Middlesbrough and Chelsea, but it was Serie A side Palermo who signed the defender in the summer of 2008. Since his move from the Danish club, Kjaer has been impressing week in week out for the Sicilian club. In his first season for the Sicilian club, the young centre-back managed to make a total of 27 appearances and netted 3 goals. Last season, Kjaer firmly established himself as a regular in the Palermo side by playing a total of 38 games in all competitions and has formed a strong partnership with Cesare Bovo.

The centre-back was named the Danish Under-19 talent of the year in 2007 at the age of 17, and in 2009 was awarded the Danish talent of the year award. Kjaer has so far picked up 11 caps for Denmark.

Kjaer has been named in the 23-man Denmark squad for the World Cup in South Africa this summer, and has managed to start in both of his country’s matches so far.

The 6’ 2’’ centre-back has a reported £11 million buy out clause in his contract, which will no doubt see further interest increase after the world’s biggest tournament concludes in July. Kjaer is one of the hottest young properties in world football, and after impressing in Serie A for the past two seasons and in the World Cup so far, it is clear to see why so many clubs are interested in acquiring his services this summer.

Tottenham and both Manchester clubs are amongst the Premier League sides interested in the young defender this summer. All three clubs are looking to strengthen their defences and feel that Kjaer is the man to solidify the back-line.

Harry Redknapp and his Spurs side are preparing for a possible crusade into the Champions League next season, and Redknapp will want to add and strengthen his defence due to several injuries in this area last season. Manchester United see Kjaer as a possible replacement for the ‘troubled’ Nemanja Vidic as it is still unclear whether or not the  Serbian will be wearing the red of United this season. Manchester City on the other hand, have a huge amount of money to spend. Roberto Mancini is looking to rebuild his squad in order to go one better and seal a top four finish, the Palermo centre-back will certainly help the cause.

It would be great to see the Danish centre-back in the Premier League after the window closes, as he looks to have the right attributes and physique to play in the competitive English game.

The defender looks strong, quick, has good positional attributes as well as having a very good knowledge of the game at such a young age. Kjaer looks a very assured and dominate figure in the Danish back line as well as in Palermo’s, and once the World Cup has ended, you can expect to see a number offers coming through the Sicilian club’s door. Kjaer is highly rated in Europe and is tipped to be a world-class centre-back by many fans and pundits in the near future.

Palermo look powerless to resist a major offer and will evidently have to sell the player when the summer window opens…where he goes will be up to his employers and the player himself to decide. Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini told GR Parlamento earlier this week that there is strong interest in the young defender, and as a result, may have to offload the Dane this summer:

“I know of talks with the two Manchester clubs, Tottenham and Wolfsburg. In my opinion, when some offers come in for a player, he must leave. If there are a couple of offers important enough which we are discussing, then I’ll discuss with the player. I also need to seek a replacement. Kjaer’s valuation is 15-20million euros and that figure is important to us.”

He finished off by saying:

“He wants to go to another club and we don’t hold back anyone.”

It’s fair to say that which ever club does succeed in acquiring Kjaer’s services this summer will undoubtedly be adding a great asset to their squad for this upcoming season. Only time will tell where Simon Kjaer decides to continue and develop his promising football career…hopefully it will be in the Premier League.

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