Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is confident of completing a deal for Southampton star Nathaniel Clyne this summer, with the defender sitting at the top of their transfer hit-list.
According to the Daily Mirror the powers that be at Old Trafford have identified the rising English star as a player who will help steady their shaky back-line, and at £15 million he comes relatively cheap. For the majority of the winter transfer window the 23-year-old has been hotly tipped to make a big move, but it now looks certain that Van Gaal will wait until the summer before making his approach.
Clyne currently has just 18 months left on his St. Mary’s contract, meaning that Ronald Koeman may entertain the idea of offloading him if it means he can cash in on him rather than risk letting him go for nothing.
With the Saints’ academy line prospering currently there won’t be too many fears that the full-back can’t be replaced, though the south-coast club will want to avoid getting a reputation as a feeder team for England’s biggest sides.
A frenetic summer of transfer activity in 2014 saw them relinquish the services of a host of star players. Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren were all snapped up by Liverpool, who at the time were trying to plug the hole left by Luis Suarez, whilst Luke Shaw made his move to United to the tune of £30 million.
Since his arrival it’s not all been roses for the young left-back, with question marks over his fitness remaining even now. If Clyne does end up switching to Old Trafford fans will hope for a far more straight-forward impact upon the first-team, but Van Gaal clearly feels he is capable of providing that.
At the moment United have alternated between using Rafael da Silva and Antonio Valencia on the right-hand side of the defence, though neither man is believed to have the full-backing of United’s manager. Rafael has made just nine Premier League starts in a wholly disruptive season, whilst his Ecuadorian teammate struggles to cope with the defensive aspect of the role in question.