Having already knocked on Southampton’s front door looking for a talented English full back a few months ago, it looks as though Manchester United are going to try it again. This time though, it is for a right back. If rumours are to be believed, the Red Devils are looking to rival Liverpool to secure the signature of Nathaniel Clyne as a possible option at right back, where Rafael has been injured for most of the season.
The 23-year-old right back who made his England debut recently will be a welcome addition to the United back line, which has been decimated by injuries this season and have just one recognized right back in Rafael. Here are three reasons why the Red Devils should sign the Englishman.
He is only 23
Although Luke Shaw cost a lot of money, one of the reasons why he was well worth the gamble, was his age. Although Clyne is a few years older than Shaw, at 23 he is still very young and he has a long career ahead of him. If there is one position that has evolved over the years to become the hardest to perfect, it is the role of the full back. And quality young full backs are gold dust these days. Clyne has helped Saints to keep 7 clean sheets in the first 15 games of the season, with his impressive defensive contribution. Apart from scoring two goals, Clyne averages 5 defensive actions per game and wins over 49% of his defensive duels.
In Clyne, United will have a player who is not only young, but is also a proven Premier League performer whose best years are front of him. The youngster almost joined the Red Devils three seasons ago, when he was at Crystal Palace, but rejected a move to United in favour of the Saints where he thought that he would get more regular football. Now that the club desperately need a right back, regular first-team football wouldn’t be a problem for Clyne whose contract runs out in two years.
Rafael’s injury-prone nature
When fit, Rafael is one of the best full backs in the Premier League. But the problem for United has been keeping him fit. In the last 18 months, the Brazilian full back has been injured on 11 different occasions and every time he starts to build a head of steam and puts in some good performances, he gets injured and that cycle has repeating all over again.
Although he is only 24, he has already made a name for himself as an injury-prone defender. His injuries have meant that the Red Devils have had to play Antonio Valencia, a winger as an auxiliary right back, sometimes with disastrous consequences. The arrival of Clyne would not only present the Brazilian a challenge that he hasn’t always had at United, but will also mean that the club have a good replacement, when the Brazilian full back is injured, which he has been making a habit of, ever since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Clyne’s contract situation
One of the main reasons why managers are so afraid to buy talented English players is that their prices are often overly inflated. After all, why would you want to spend £20 million on a English player, when you can get a similar player from abroad for less than half that sum. But Nathaniel Clyne is someone who might very well buck that trend. Although he is one of the League’s best right backs at the moment, he might well be available for less than half the money the Red Devils spent on Luke Shaw.
One of the main reasons for that is that his contract runs out at the end of the next season. With just over 18 months left on his contract, the club might well be forced to let him go for a lower fee or run the risk of losing him for free. And in the current transfer market, anything less than £15 million for a young full back who is adept at both defending and bombing forward is a steal. So the Red Devils would be well advised to keep tabs on the 23-year-old’s contract situation and sign up for sure this time around and secure the club’s right flank.