Why Liverpool’s Move For Nathaniel Clyne Is A Clever One, Despite The Same Old Jokes


On social media, nothing is enjoyed quite as much as a recurring joke.

The same memes, Vines and GIFs can get wheeled out for any occasion. They’re lapped up, shared and retweeted by the masses and then the process begins again.

Fair play to Liverpool, then, for signing a player from Southampton for the fourth time in a year and allowing everyone to recycle content from the summer of 2014.

Those were heady days when Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren moved to Anfield for almost a combined £50m, with their underwhelming performances going on to play a part as the Reds finished just two points above the Saints in a disappointing sixth. Social media seemed to enjoy that, too.

PFC Ludogorets Razgrad v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League : News Photo

But this is a new summer featuring a new Liverpool who seem to finally understand what they’re doing in the transfer market. Enter Nathaniel Clyne, a former teammate of the aforementioned trio at Southampton but one who arrives at Anfield with no-one questioning his apparent £12.5m fee (as they did for Lallana and Lovren) or his right to be there (Lambert).

So whilst the same jokes might be out in force – something about Southampton loyalty points is usually the gist of them – there is a very different feel to this transfer.

Clyne was undoubtedly one of the very best right-backs in the Premier League last season, at a time when Liverpool struggled so much in the position that at one point they even stopped playing with one.

Liverpool v Southampton - Premier League : News Photo

First there was the youngster Javier Manquillo—steady but limited—then there was Glen Johnson, who was just biding his time until his contract ran out.

Lazar Markovic, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and others all had a go in the position when it evolved into right wing-back, but then poor old Emre Can looked so out of place in the more conventional role by the season’s end. He was substituted at half-time on the final day with Stoke leading 5-0.

By contrast, Clyne arrives as a specialist right-back and one who would appear to fit the team perfectly. Those who spend their time fixated by stats say he’s got good ones, too, and the more you think about the move for the 24-year-old the more it just seems to make sense.

And it is that sense of sense that Liverpool have done well to impressively restore over a summer which has now seen six new signings, with an expected seventh to come in the form of a new forward.

Southampton v Burnley - Premier League : News Photo

It might well be that their season is defined by just who that forward is and what his goals return is like, but in these six new signings – particularly Clyne and James Milner – they have impressively boosted the squad and strengthened Brendan Rodgers’ hand at a time when he desperately needed someone to hold it.

Reports also suggest that Rodgers is set to appoint the former Bournemouth, Doncaster and Nottingham Forest manager Sean O’Driscoll as his new assistant, another feather in the cap for the Northern Irishman and a sign that those in the Anfield corridors of power still believe in him.

And given that they’ve stuck by him then the desire to help him is an admirable one, whether that means appointing the staff member he wants or going after yet another player from Southampton.

Oops, that was almost a veer into the recurring joke territory, wasn’t it?

Clyne deserves better than that, and better is what he should be getting as a summer of quiet optimism at Anfield starts to become something of a reality. 

It won’t stop those same old jokes, but in the long run it could be Liverpool and their new right-back who are laughing loudest.

 

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