Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne is increasingly becoming a target for Manchester United. The 23-year-old’s preferred destination is thought to be Old Trafford, where he will link up with former Saints teammate Luke Shaw.
Since making his bow on the international stage in November 2014, the defender has been seriously considered to be England’s number one for the wide right defensive slot. Clyne is again set to win his third cap with the national side against Lithuania later on this month.
With witnessing Southampton become a surprise inclusion in the top six of the Premier League this season, it’s no surprise to see a player like Clyne linked with a big move to one of the big boys after consistently performing, using his attributes of pace and power to a high standard ever since his move to the club from Crystal Palace in the summer of 2012.
After last season’s triumphs of not only fulfilling the club’s main objective of staying up, The Saints enjoyed a successful season under former manager Mauricio Pochettino, with the Argentine eventually jumping ship to Tottenham Hotspur.
As the saying goes, “If one falls, we all fall.” With the season coming to an end it was now time for the ‘bigger clubs’ to come sniffing and undo Southampton’s good work. Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren, Dani Osvaldo and Callum Chambers all led an exodus out of St. Marys in search of a better standard of football off the back of a glittering season. However, Clyne was one of a handful of stars that stayed with The Saints who have marched on to arguably an even better season this year under Dutchman Ronald Koeman, where Clyne is now reaping the rewards and has become an extremely important to Koeman’s side.
Incidentally the Red Devils were interested in signing him before he joined Southampton from Palace, so a second chance at signing him in the pipeline may be too good an opportunity to turn down. The England international would slot straight into a fairly weak United back four that has stuttered for most of the season. Who knows, if all is successful he could be the replacement for Gary Neville, who also liked to get forward and help join in the attack. Since Neville’s retirement you could say United have struggled to fill the void.
Antonio Valencia currently holds down the position these days, but Van Gaal may fancy a younger English model to bolster his English/homegrown contingent. Rafael, who has suffered with injury as well as being left out in the cold under the Dutchman, will more than likely be shown the door with a return to his native Brazil on the cards in the summer.
However, Clyne may be interested in other options if Louis Van Gaal’s men fail to qualify for next year’s Champions League. Chelsea, City and even Liverpool will be sniffing around for his signature.
If United do manage secure his services, it will be a signing of intent that will require a huge transfer fee. But if the former Premier League Champions want to get back to the top of English football and battle in the Champions League then players such as Nathaniel Clyne will be a future foundation into a very successful team.