Liverpool have become the latest club to have been linked with highly rated Danish centre half Simon Kjaer as the player openly admitted an interest in moving to the Anfield outfit.
Still only 20 years of age, Kjaer has attracted the interest of some of Europe’s elite this year after a string of impressive performances for Palermo in Serie A. Having signed for the Sicilian club in February 2008 for around £3m the centre half has been a mainstay at the back since his arrival from Danish club FC Midtjylland after the club reportedly turned down an offer from Spanish giants Real Madrid for the player.
Man Utd, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Arsenal have long courted the classy defender’s signature and although relatively raw he has bags of promise and could cost upwards of £15m. His ability to play the ball out from the back is much in keeping with the Danish centre half tradition and standing at 6ft 2in he’s no slouch in the air or in the challenge either.
Kjaer has himself openly declared an interest in moving to the Premier League recently and looks set to leave Italy in the summer stating that he fancies a fresh challenge with the Premiership looking the most attractive proposition. He has described England’s top flight described as “the best league in the world” and he certainly has the potential to adapt to the league quickly.
He has even gone as far as stating his preference for Liverpool by saying “England and the physical playing style would probably suit me better. In case the right offers come, it would be exciting to form a partnership with (Daniel) Agger (at Liverpool)” which sounds promising for Liverpool fans everywhere. H e hopes to have a move sown up before the World Cup, but as is often the problem with good players changing clubs, his club Palermo remain reluctant to agree to any deal and as a result he could be overpriced out of a move.
Young centre halves of great ability such as Kjaer are a precious commodity at the minute and for this reason alone, his price may escalate to the extent that it may put off potential bids from other clubs.
Palermo Chairman Maurizio Zamperini has stated that “Kjaer is much too an important player for us – I’d buy him again just to not make him go away” and a lot could rest on whether Palermo are successful or not in achieving a top four spot in Serie A and a Champions League place with it. So what clubs look the most likely to clinch his signature?
Man Utd having signed Chris Smalling already with one eye on the future, as well as having Evans, Vidic and Ferdinand and they seem well stocked in that area at present and a bid from them for the Dane is only likely should Vidic leave in the summer. Chelsea have Terry, Alex and Carvalho but it looks as if the Portuguese centre half may seek pastures a new come summer time and Kjaer may prove an attractive proposition as a replacement for Carvalho – Chelsea are certainly overdue some heavy investment.
Arsenal on the other hand could do with Kjaer and given his height and ability to pass the ball he’d feel right at home in a side such as Wenger’s and given the fact that Wenger will have money to spend, it’s really just a matter of whether the Arsenal manager wants to spend upwards of £15m on a young centre back, his track record says otherwise though given the amount he’d cost.
Liverpool look to be frontrunners in the players mind but at the moment they have four first choice centre halves on their books in Carragher, Skrtel, Krygiakos and fellow countryman Agger and budget constraints should mean Benitez chooses to strengthen elsewhere in more pressing positions.
This leaves Bayern Munich in the hunt and they undoubtedly still need to replace the departed Lucio who has moved on to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan to great success and with their defensive ability often in question after they’ve often been bailed out by their potent attacking forces, he could certainly tempt them.
AC Milan have shown an interest too and despite attempting to prise Agger away from Liverpool for some time they may just plump for the younger version with more potential but at a larger price – God knows Milan could do with a few young players in their squad right now, as rigor mortis looked to have set in for several of the backline against Man Utd in the Champions League just a few weeks ago.
Real Madrid are seemingly well stocked at the back and have Garay, a relatively untested bright prospect at centre half on their books at the moment so to sign another one at the big fee Kjaer would command lacks little economic sense, but then again prudency has never been one of the Real Madrid hierarchy’s strong points.
It would seem the young Dane is destined for big things in the game and could find himself at one of Europe’s top clubs even before this summer’s World Cup but with several potential suitors it’s anyone’s guess where he’ll end up – my bet though is that you won’t see him trotting out at Anfield anytime soon though despite the player’s best intentions and Chelsea look to be the best fit in England at least.