Liverpool line up Diego Godin to replace Manchester City target Agger

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Liverpool are lining up a move for Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin as a replacement for Manchester City target Daniel Agger, Goal.com has learned.

The experienced Uruguay international has been regularly scouted by the Merseysiders over the past 12 months and has emerged as the chief contender to supplement the defence if they cash in on Agger.

Manager Brendan Rodgers admitted on Wednesday that Liverpool would sell Agger at the right price and it is understood he will be allowed a significant portion of the proceeds to secure a replacement for the Dane.

Rodgers is not believed to be interested in moving for Swansea City captain Ashley Williams and, although he is a huge admirer of Steven Caulker, his centre-back partner during a successful loan spell last season, Tottenham will strongly resist any move for a player of whom they have high hopes at White Hart Lane.

Rodgers' top target is Godin, 26, who is a cornerstone of Uruguay's national side and highly regarded in Spain. However, Atletico are believed to be willing to listen to offers for the centre-back because of their financial problems.

Godin was watched by Liverpool before they signed his countryman Sebastian Coates 12 months ago soon after Uruguay won the 2011 Copa America.

Arsenal and Chelsea have also made enquiries for Godin, who was a central figure in Atletico's Europa League triumph last season, but have failed to renew their interest.

Rodgers does not believe Coates is ready for a regular starting berth at Anfield and wants a proven, battle-hardened centre-back to supplement Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel, whose long-term Liverpool future also remains in doubt.

City are intent on securing high calibre cover for first-choice centre-back pairing Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott.

Agger, 27, has only two years remaining on his current contract and has privately expressed his frustrations at Liverpool's lack of progress over the previous 12 months.

City might be interested in a part-exchange deal involving winger Adam Johnson, who they are ready to sell after lining up Swansea's Scott Sinclair as a replacement.

Although Liverpool are under no obligation to sell £22 million-rated Agger, Rodgers has conceded that all serious offers for players at Anfield will be considered.

Speaking on Wednesday, he said: "Do I want to lose Daniel Agger? No, not really. I enjoy him. He's a good guy and can play a real pivotal part in how I want to play. He understands how I want to work but I'm a realist as well and the reality is that if a club comes in with a massive bid then the club may have to look at it.

"I think it's one where they’re at a premium, top centre-halves. Look at Thiago Silva - he was at AC Milan and went to PSG for £40million so there's got to be a big valuation.

"He [Agger] is one of the leading players in European football at centre-half. Is he a player that I want to lose? No, he's not. But like it is for any club, whatever valuation comes in - you've seen it over a number of years - if it's in the best interest of the club, whether it's Daniel or any other player, of course you have to look at it, from a football perspective."

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