Liverpool have confirmed that they have agreed a deal with Manchester City defender Kolo Toure.
The centre-back will be registered as a Reds player when his current contract at the Etihad Stadium expires in the coming weeks and he will officially join the club on July 1.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has turned to the 32-year-old in order to add some experience to his back four following the retirement of veteran Jamie Carragher. The Reds boss is keen to get his business done as early as possible to avoid the sort of problems which arose last summer. Toure is a veteran defender who started 10 league matches last season for Manchester City. He also appeared in five more as a substitute.
Toure arrived in England in 2002 when he was signed by Arsenal from homeland club ASEC Mimosas and actually made his debut against Liverpool in the Community Shield.
He had spells as a full-back and a midfielder at Highbury but had established himself as a centre-back by the time Arsenal enjoyed their 'Invincibles' season in 2003/04 when they went the entire Premier League season unbeaten. After playing over 200 games with Arsenal, winning two FA Cups to go with his league title, he joined Manchester City in 2009 for £16 million.
While he struggled to get onto the pitch for the English Premier League runner-up, the 32-year-old player should have more opportunities with Liverpool. At Anfield, the squad will be able to utilize his strong tackling ability to help improve the entire first unit. Toure's veteran leadership should help improve in this area after years of strong play with Manchester City, Arsenal and the Ivory Coast national team. He can provide guidance to the young players in the system and help everyone around him improve. On the other hand, there are certainly question marks surrounding the older defender as he has clearly lost a step over the years. Still, he should be stronger if he is able to play on a regular basis and remain in a rhythm on the pitch. This move will give Liverpool plenty of depth on the back line as they attempt to once again compete with the top clubs in England.
With Toure approaching free agent status it was a relatively straightforward deal to complete and further additions in defence are expected. Liverpool’s need for fresh faces at the back is further accentuated by Martin Skrtel’s uncertain future at the club. Speaking this week the Slovakian, who signed from Zenit St Petersburg in 2008, has revealed he is ready to consider offers to leave.
‘I have not had any specific offers,’ he said. ‘But if some should come and they interest me, I would probably ponder it seriously. I do not want to be that specific.
‘The club has the biggest say in this in any case, because they have the right for it with me being contracted.
‘Besides, I am not saying that I want to leave at any cost. I feel sorry for what happened this season. But I have been here for five-and-a-half years and I have built a position here.’