Should Chelsea FC Pursue Nathaniel Clyne?


Chelsea FC defeating Manchester United 1-0 last Saturday at the Bridge was a great result that all but secured the Premiership for the Blues this season. But it seems another battle will take place between the two clubs this summer.

The ever-churning rumor mill has been reporting that the Premier League’s financial elite will again look towards Southampton’s talented crop this summer to strengthen their squads. For Chelsea FC, the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne have been tipped to potentially make a move to west London.

Both players have excelled this season being an integral part of the South coast side’s league leading defense that’s conceded only 22 goals. With the Blues sitting second in that table at 26, if they were to sign either it would be a positive addition to the likely league champions.

Clyne especially.

The 24-year-old has been dropping hints as the season has gone along about his desire to play in the Champions League and has been toying with signing a new contract, something that’s bugged Ronald Koeman and Saint’s supporters. He said, “Champions League football is everyone’s dream and hopefully we can do it for Southampton.”

Clyne recently became a full England international and performed well in his 90 minutes against (granted) Slovenia. But against Premier league competition this season Clyne has been no slouch either, being one of the most efficient tacklers in the division.

Paired alongside Jose Fonte on the right of the Saint’s defense Clyne has been a reliable and continually improving option since his move from Crystal Palace in the summer of 2012. His speed and technical skill mixed with composure in distributing the ball makes him an exciting prospect for both club and country.

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What Clyne could bring to the team is also something we considerably lack now. Pace on the right side. With Cesar Azpilicueta shifting to a more permanent role this season alongside Filipe Luis on the left, the right side of the field has Serbian Branislav Ivanovic alone at the full back position. Ivanovic has started 32 matches in the league this season and has been a constant in Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea 2.0.

The physicality and offensive skills Brana provides are a great option that teams scramble to deal with. But many times this season he has been caught out of position and, when that has happened, lacked the recovery speed to help out. That coupled with Gary Cahill and captain John Terry in the back line have been one of the few areas oppositions have been able to exploit. Adding Clyne could also allow Ivanovic to slot inside to a more central position sometimes to provide depth.

The balance Clyne has between his offensive and defensive game could make him a great foil to work in along the Brana at right back. Still developing his delivery and end-product the youngster from south London is in definite contention to be starting for the Three Lions in the years to come.

With England looking to revamp after the horrid performance in Brazil and Clyne’s main opposition at the spot, Kyle Walker, constantly fighting the injury bug a move for Clyne to the champions and the club he supported growing up would increase his prestige at the right time for the 24-year-old.

Having a quality player with the potential for more to satisfy the homegrown quota would be a huge plus. JT will, at some point, eventually, retire leaving the defense with a lack of English identity. At every level up to this point Clyne has been successful, winning Crystal Palace’s young player of the year award in 2009 and 2010 and being recognized as the Football League’s player of the year in 2010/2011 (Clyne played every game of the taxing Championship calendar).

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So if Clyne passes the eye, paper, and heart test, why hasn’t he already put pen to paper at Cobham? Well, a few obstacles lie in the way like Manchester United. The Red Devils are always in the hunt for the latest English defensive talent to make waves. That means for the second year in a row they’re going after a Southampton full back with a liking of the Blues

Reports have more heavily tipped a switch from the South coast to Manchester for Clyne with Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez going the other way in a player swap deal. Not given a chance under LVG at United or Real Madrid the move would be welcomed for the Mexican and United. Under Van Gaal United are currently playing his favored back 3 formation with Antonio Valencia running the right side. When with a traditional back 4 this year it’s been Rafael (or is it Fabio? can’t tell the difference based on performance).

Another could be the cost. Young English talent does not come at a cheap price as Liverpool are struggling to find out currently and the reported asking price for Clyne will be in the range of 25 million pounds. Such a price tag will likely cost United more than Chicharito and ward off any suitors, especially with Clyne entering the last year of his contract and hesitating on signing a new one. Jose Mourinho could elect to not spend any money and hope that Clyne will be available for a free next summer but risking that is something I don’t think we can afford, unlike his price.

“The first kit I remember wearing was a Zola shirt, the No 25… I used to idolise him when I was growing up because he was so skillful despite being so small.”

Winning the league this season will bring a large sum of revenue to the Bridge. That winners money plus the PL’s massive television deals and the new Yokohama shirt sponsor, it’s likely Chelsea will make a grand signing (besides the Japanese Muto) to get those new shirts sold quickly. With the Blues also seemingly being the only club cooperating and in line with financial fair play, Chelsea have the war chest to not be scared of making a move to strengthen the team. Real Madrid recently spent 30 million Euros to sign Porto right back Danilo, a player you could say is better than Clyne but in the same range.

There will be other, in particular, French central midfielders available in the market this summer so Morgan Schneiderlin is one of multiple options if were Chelsea to bolster the midfield via a move. That coupled with the young talent already at the club looking to push it’s way through the academy and loan systems like Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Nathaniel Chalobah, and Marco Van Ginkel, signing Schneiderlin doesn’t have to be so much of a priority.

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For right back, Chelsea currently have a couple of options already under contract. Kenneth Omeruo, loaned out at Middlesbrough, has been with the club since 2012 but has yet to feature for the first team and has switched to more of a central role for Boro this season. Also 21 and in the never-ending cycle of loans is Todd Kane who hasn’t done much of notice with Nottingham Forest this season either.

19-year-old academy player Ola Aina has been at the club since 2007 and recently was apart of Chelsea FC’s UEFA Youth League winning side. Aina has represented England at almost every age level but to go into next campaign with just the teenager as backup would be a risky decision.

What Nathaniel Clyne could bring to the club is homegrown stability at a position where it’s hard to find talent for years to come. Chelsea should not make this the next promising Blue to wear Red at Manchester United and strengthen the squad with this signing.

Comparison of Nathaniel Clyne to relatable right backs:

Photos by @cfcunoffical (Chelsea Debs). On Twitter and at

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