Italian giants AS Roma must resist the opportunity to sign Liverpool and England full-back Glen Johnson.
The 30-year-old, whose contract at Anfield expires next summer, could find himself surplus to requirements following the addition of Javier Manquillo with youngster Jon Flanagan another option for manager Brendan Rodgers.
Rudi Garcia’s side may tempt Rodgers’ resolve with a £2 million bid when the transfer window reopens in January, yet should still look at alternative targets even if he can be snared for free next year.
Premier League stalwart
If Johnson departs the Premier League for Serie A it would be the first time he has moved overseas in his career.
As a fresh-faced youngster at West Ham United his stock rose and alerted Claudio Ranieri, who then shelved out £6 million to bring him to Stamford Bridge with Chelsea, where he became the first signing of the Roman Abramovich era.
However the form of both Paulo Ferreira and Cameroon international Geremi proved too big an obstacle to overcome, resulting in a move to Harry Redknapp’s Portsmouth on transfer deadline day in August 2007.
Whilst plying his trade at Fratton Park Johnson became a first-team regular, and alongside fellow defensive assets David James, Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin helped deliver the FA Cup in 2008 – beating Cardiff 1-0 in the showpiece final at Wembley.
However as the club’s foundations began to crumble, and years of financial failings came back to haunt them, Johnson became one of the many big names to depart and turned down a move back to Chelsea to instead sign on at Anfield with Liverpool in 2009.
Since then he has been a prominent fixture in the side under Rafael Benitez, Roy Hodgson, Kenny Daglish and Rodgers himself, and is currently in his sixth season on Merseyside.
However Johnson’s age and erratic form should be considered by Garcia before moving for the player in the New Year.
He may be first pick for club and country but the competition from Jon Flanagan has been particularly difficult, and like at Chelsea he could be forced out due to his failure to overcome the threat of other players.
Roma already possess Brazilian bulldozer Maicon, who in spite of his age remains an accomplished defender as shown by his performances in Brazil, prior to their 7-1 mauling by Germany at the World Cup.
There is a need for a new right-back to provide competition but the focus should be placed on alternative targets, with Johnson’s willingness to bomb forward often leaving gaping holes at the other end.
Alvaro Arbeloa is reportedly desperate to leave Real Madrid and could be available on the cheap, whilst Bacary Sagna could be a shock target with the Frenchman currently finding himself behind Pablo Zabaleta in the pecking order at Manchester City.