It looks as though new Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is already looking at some old pals of his to help improve the playing staff at Ibrox. One name who has been mentioned as potential arrival on more than one occasion this week is centre-back Martin Skrtel.
The Slovakian is said to be a target for Rangers, with the Scottish sun suggesting the £4 million target joins Jermain Defoe and Lucas Leiva in an ambitious transfer wishlist from the Liverpool legend.
Obviously, Rangers fans would love to see all three of these Premier League heroes at Ibrox but even just the arrival of Skrtel would be a huge boost. The bullish defender would go a long way toward improving the defence at Rangers – which has been weak most of the current campaign.
Of course, if Skrtel were to arrive, he would be going up against his former boss in Glasgow. In fact, Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers and Skrtel have something of a patchy relationship.
In 2013 the Slovakian was quite suddenly dropped by Liverpool, barely getting a kick in the second half of the season. It looked like he was on his way out and he publicly took aim at Rodgers. As quoted by The Telegraph he stated:
“He gave me some explanation (why he was dropped), but it’s hard to tell if it was the true reason he gave me. I don’t think it was and think there is something else behind it…
“It all happened after our match with Manchester United in the middle of January,” he said. “We lost 2-1 but I think that particularly in the second half we played very well. Moreover, a lot of sources gave me a good rating. But he [Rodgers] told me we had lost the organisation of play in the defensive line and that this would be the reason why I would not play in the following matches.
“I don’t know which fixtures he spoke about because we had kept a clean sheet twice in a row and won both matches.”
Celtic boss Rodgers is certainly not a popular man at Ibrox, so such views will no doubt be welcomed by the Rangers fans.
Problem is, Skrtel changed his tune later on. He fought his way back into the reckoning under Rodgers at Liverpool. The following season was perhaps his best yet in a Liverpool shirt. When asked about Rodgers last year, when Slovakia took on Scotland, he had this to say:
“Brendan is a great manager. I played with him for two to three seasons at Liverpool. I am not surprised he is doing a great job there,” as quoted by The Daily Record (printed edition; 7th October – page 61).
Rangers fans will certainly not disagree that Rodgers has done a great job at their bitter Old Firm rivals.
But if Skrtel arrives the hope will be that the Slovakian puts all past sentiment for his former boss way in the back of his mind.
They want to see the ruthless and brutal Skrtel who first caught the eye in the Premier League at Anfield. If they can get that, then Rangers are on to a winner and Rodgers may wish he was not having so many Glasgow reunions.