Dan Burke

Martin Škrtel rejected a move to Barcelona in January

Here is a sentence we never thought we’d write.

Former Liverpool defender Martin Škrtel turned down the chance to join Barcelona last month.

That’s according to Spanish outlet AS, who report that Škrtel rejected an offer to move to Camp Nou because the Fenerbahçe centre-back didn’t fancy his chances of playing regular first team football.

AS quote Mithat Halis, a partner in the company which represents the Slovakia international, as the source of their story.

“Barcelona wanted to sign him [Škrtel] and were insisting on him because they needed a central defender that was a reliable alternative, but the player didn’t agree because he did not want to be a substitute for [Gerard] Piqué and [Samuel] Umtiti,” said Halis.

“I think he is a better centre-half than Clément Lenglet. On the other hand, Martin Škrtel is happy in Istanbul and has an important role to play in Fenerbahçe. He did not want to be third choice at Barcelona.

“They [Barça reps] saw the player in the game between Slovakia and the Ukraine and appreciated again that Škrtel is the leader of his team, but Škrtel told us he wants to continue playing in Turkey.”

The Blaugrana were linked with a number of defenders in January and eventually strengthened their ranks in that department with the signing of Jeison Murillo on loan from Valencia until the end of the season.

Škrtel joined Fenerbahçe in the summer of 2016 and the 34-year-old has recently been linked with a reunion with his former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard at Rangers.