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Forget where he’s playing, Liverpool must go for England flyer

| 01.05.2015

Liverpool splurged the best part of £60m up the wall of St Mary’s when landing Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren from Southampton last summer, a high price to pay for eight goals and a lorry load of derision.

However, that shouldn’t prevent Anfield chief Brendan Rodgers raiding the Saints for England right-back Nathaniel Clyne this summer, with St Mary’s gaffer Ronald Koeman admitting the 24-year-old’s contract situation is precarious:

“We’re still speaking with Clyney and his agent, but of course we have to know in 10 days. The club is (offering) the maximum (that) we can do and then we expect the player’s answer.

“I’ve spoken to Clyney, he’s very happy and of course there is some interest but nobody has really bid for the player. All the players are happy with how the team is doing.

“But it’s football, you never know. In football if you go in(to) your last season of (a) contract, we don’t like that.”

Such talk will encourage potential Clyne suitors Manchester United and Chelsea, and the player has spoken of his desire to play in the Champions League, but how often he’d make the first team at either of those clubs is questionable.

Antonio Valencia has been one of the most consistent performers for the Red Devils since Louis van Gaal took charge last summer; only David de Gea and Wayne Rooney have made more Premier League appearances under the ‘Iron Tulip’.

Clyne could only expect to nail down Chelsea’s right-back berth if recent rumours regarding a Real Madrid move for Branislav Ivanovic bear fruit, and even then Cesar Azpilicueta might move over to his natural position with Filipe Luis filling in at left-back.

There’d be no such competition for places at Liverpool, with unlucky Jon Flanagan ruled out for at least another six months through injury, after missing the entire season so far.

Glen Johnson will probably leave this summer, and clearly isn’t up to the task ahead at Anfield, while on-loan Spaniard Javier Manquillo is yet to start a Premier League fixture in 2015.

It might not be Champions League football straight away, but at least Clyne would get a regular game under Rodgers, who should go all out to make it fourth time lucky with erstwhile Saints this summer.

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Alex Fortune