Martin Skrtel set to seal Liverpool departure with £5.5 million Fenerbahce transfer imminent

Long-serving Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel is edging ever closer to a £5.5 million move to Fenerbahce.

The Slovakian, who captained his country to the Round of 16 at Euro 2016 before losing out to Germany, will end an eight-and-a-half-year stay at Anfield to move to Turkey.

In a short statement on their official website, Fenerbahce announced to the public that negotiations between the club and Skrtel's representatives had officially begun.

He was understood to have been told by Reds boss Jürgen Klopp that he isn't in the first-team plans for next season after making only four starts beyond the turn of the year. 

Skrtel had offers from a number of clubs, including a profitable potential switch to the Chinese Super League, but has settled on Fener - who finished five points off of title winners Besiktas last year - and could complete the move by the weekend.

The defender teased his imminent transfer on his personal Instagram account on Thursday, a picture of him and his wife on holiday in Cannes accompanied with the caption: "Last few days in the sun with the wife before I ???"

Reds defender to seal long-awaited Fenerbahce switch

Skrtel has made only a handful of starts for the club since the beginning of 2016. (Picture: Getty Images)
Skrtel has made only a handful of starts for the club since the beginning of 2016. (Picture: Getty Images)

The 30-year-old made 21 starts in the Premier League but faded into the background after the festive period as injuries and poor form saw him fall behind Kolo TouréDejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho.

Though Touré left the club on a free transfer last month, the arrival of Joël Matip from Schalke has ensured Skrtel remains fairly low down in the pecking order.

The return of injured teenager Joe Gomez, who can play across the back-four, also pushes Skrtel further down the pecking order.

By the end of the season, missing out on featuring in the UEFA Europa League final with Touré and Lovren preferred over him, Skrtel's number of 27 appearances was his lowest tally since making just 20 in his first season after signing from Zenit St Petersburg in 2008.

His move to Fenerbahce has made a total of 320 appearances across all competitions, staying under four different managers, with only Lucas Leiva having also survived as long at the club.

The Istanbul outfit have recruited Gregory van der Wiel after the full-back left Paris Saint-Germain over the summer, while Portugal international Nani left for Valencia in a £7.2 million move.