Transfer rumours have been bubbling recently on social media that Manchester City would take Nathaniel Clyne for a fee in the region of £35m, and possibly Barcelona are putting in an audacious £20m bid.
Not only did the news itself spark a tumour in me, the behaviour of some Liverpool fans on Twitter implying that letting Clyne go for £35m to City is beyond the pale.
The statistics never lie. Since Brendan Rodgers’ rare shrewdness in the transfer market which saw him snap up Clyne from Southampton in 2015, Clyne has only made 2 defensive errors in all competitions since – making him a model for consistency & favoured as one of the best RBs in the Premier League. I despised the board (and Rodgers’) approach to signing players with a sizeable budget, but you have to credit him for pushing a move through the committee for Clyne.
Not only can Clyne defend in a versatile manner, he’s also dangerous offensively with his crosses & wide threat. Let’s not forget that before we captured him, we endured painful years of Glen Johnson (who only impressed in his cameo season & the 13-14 title push), who was woefully inconsistent – he seemed incompetent with defending, whereas Clyne offers balance on the flanks.
If you don’t believe that Clyne isn’t as good as Johnson offensively, take a look at Clyne’s chance creation and % of duels won. Clyne won 54% of aerial duels, and created 24 chances compared to Johnson’s 18. Clyne can be better going forward, but he a solid & consistent performer who cannot be overlooked.
Not to mention Clyne’s composure, positioning & tracking back is better significantly than Johnson’s erratic antics at the back.
More worryingly, if he is sold, how are we going to replace him? It definitely will not be as easy to replace him as it was Johnson – Clyne is only 25 years of age, which is fairly young – having made the right-back spot his own, I cannot see anybody else filling the void he leaves.
Clyne is no Steve Finnan by any means, but we lack first-teamers capable of challenging the Englishman to a first team spot regularly. We have the exciting potential of Joe Gomez (who was out for most of last season, but returned from injury), but he is still a little raw for me, and needs time to adapt to his surroundings, having finally combated his injury.
If you bear that in mind, selling Clyne for £20-35m to Barcelona or Manchester City, it can be billed as a disaster – the only other RBs at Liverpool are youngsters, but experience really is needed from Liverpool if they want to challenge for the Premier League title & even win it for the first time since 1990. Naivety is a flawed policy in football. I obviously stand by Klopp in giving opportunities to the young players (we nearly won the 13-14 league with local lad Jon Flanagan at the back), but the league is getting tougher & tougher – experience is key for Liverpool to be challengers.
Clyne stood out as one of Liverpool’s best defender last season, and he’s getting better and better & better as we go on to win games. If he’s sold, I will still have faith in Jürgen Klopp to replace him, but Clyne is going nowhere unless Klopp thinks he is surplus in requirements to the team – the German clearly hasn’t shown inclination in trying to offload Stockwell-born defender.
The stock narrative of the media, though, is to obviously take transfer rumours out of context, so don’t get too apprehensive if you see any reports of Clyne wanting to move clubs.
Written by @SteLindellLFC