Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne has reportedly commenced talks with Turkish outfit Besiktas about a potential summer move, according to a report from the print edition of Posta [via Sport Witness].
Posta claimed that the Istanbul-based club view the 28-year-old as an ideal right-back replacement for Gokhan Gonul, who will become a free agent at the end of the season. Coincidentally, Clyne will also be out of contract in the summer. According to Posta, discussions have begun between him and Besiktas about a pre-contract agreement.
Why might Liverpool be willing to let Nathaniel Clyne leave?
The former Southampton right-back was Liverpool’s first choice in that position for his first couple of seasons at Anfield after joining in 2015 but then the emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold saw the elder man relegated to a bit-part role, making only three Premier League starts for the Reds since the start of 2017/18. Most of his top-flight football in that time actually came during a loan spell at Bournemouth in the second half of last season (as per WhoScored).
Just as Clyne returned to Liverpool reinvigorated by an overdue run of first team football, though, he ruptured his cruciate ligament in pre-season last July and has been ruled out of action ever since. While he has been recovering from that horrendous setback, Alexander-Arnold has been almost ever-present for the Reds and enhanced his reputation as a key attacking outlet by providing 14 assists this term following on from his 16 last season.
Can Liverpool afford to let Clyne leave on a free transfer?
The 14-cap England international turns 29 next month and, having long since lost his place to Alexander-Arnold and spent so long out injured, it’s difficult to envisage him getting back to a level where he would seriously push Liverpool’s current first choice right-back for a regular starting berth.
At the moment, he is the only senior alternative to the 21-year-old in terms of natural right-backs, which could make releasing him a risky course of action. However, the Reds appear to have a very capable young talent ready to become a fixed member of the first team squad.
Neco Williams made his senior debut against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup five months ago, providing the cross from which Divock Origi scored the stoppage time equaliser in a 5-5 draw that took the game to a penalty shoot-out which Liverpool won. The 18-year-old then started all four of the Reds’ FA Cup matches in 2020, registering assists in both games against Shrewsbury, and some fans hailed his performance in the defeat to Chelsea earlier this month. His display that night was also lauded by former Reds goalkeeper Chris Kirkland on Love Sport Radio.
Williams may be in the infancy of his career and has yet to play in the Premier League but his cup exploits have hinted at the scale of his promise and his star should continue to rise with further first team opportunities. His emergence could be the trigger for Liverpool to decide that the highly unfortunate Clyne is dispensable and at least the Reds seem to have a right-back alternative to Alexander-Arnold ready to roll if they part ways with the 29-year-old Besiktas target.
Liverpool fans, would you be happy to see Clyne moving to Besiktas in the knowledge that Williams is coming through the youth ranks into the first team picture? Have your say by commenting below!