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Liverpool’s chase of Atleti defender catalyst for Johnson sale?

| 23.07.2014

Liverpool will be in desperate need of restocking on hats by the time the new season kicks off as they’ve reportedly thrown yet another into the ring, as they hunt down a loan deal for 20-year-old right-back Javier Manquillo.

The in-demand Atletico Madrid man, also a target for Arsenal during this hectic transfer window, is being lined up by Brendan Rodgers according to several media outlets.

Having impressed as occasional deputy to Spanish international Juanfran at the Vicente Calderon last season, Manquillo’s stock has risen almost as rapidly as London house prices in the past 12 months.

But if Liverpool – who’ve already slumped to 9/1 fifth-favourites for the title they let slip through their fingers last season – do acquire Manquillo’s services, what does that mean for current first-choice right-back Glen Johnson?

The England full-back, who turns 30 in August, is about to enter the final year of a lucrative £120,000 per week contract on Merseyside and has so far refused to play ball over a proposed new deal.

The club and the player have reached gridlock over a one-year extension, with Johnson holding out for a longer-term agreement.

This rumbling stand-off has already prompted speculation over the former Chelsea player’s future, where Real Madrid were even rumoured to be showing an interest in Johnson a few months ago.

Any other transfer talk had cooled as the World Cup took over the football-sphere, but if Manquillo is to arrive at Anfield then this could well prompt the Reds to reconsider selling Johnson.

The fact home-grown talent Jon Flanagan can also fulfil Johnson’s preferred right-sided berth also adds extra attraction to cashing in on the former Pompey raider.

If however Rodgers fails to find another viable left-back option he could utilise either Johnson or Flanagan on their unnatural flank again, as he did many times last season.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.