It’s been hard not to feel a little bit sorry for Nathaniel Clyne over the past two years.
From 2015-17, he was Liverpool’s nailed on first choice right back. While rarely spectacular, no one had any complaints about his performance and it was widely assumed that he’d be an important cog in the machine for several more years to come. When he picked up a nasty injury at the start of the 2017/18 season, there were genuine concerns about what Klopp would do at right back.
What happened then was that Joe Gomez and especially Trent Alexander-Arnold performed beyond expectations in the role, so much so that Clyne now feels unnecessary. Alexander-Arnold is well placed to be Liverpool’s first choice right back for a long, long time, and there’s not a lot that Clyne can do about that.
While I’d still argue that he’d be a useful squad option, Clyne seems to have taken the entirely noble view that he’d rather play regular football elsewhere than sit on the bench at Liverpool. The club seem to take the view that such a player should be allowed to leave, which seems a reasonable view.
So it comes as no surprise that Crystal Palace reportedly view Clyne as a target. The club have just sold first choice right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United for quite a hefty fee, and will surely be using that cash to strengthen a number of areas. There’s a suggestion that, at 28, Palace might not see Clyne as the long term solution, but that’s never been something that’s hugely concerned Roy Hodgson, to put it politely.
It seems inevitable that, come the start of the season, Clyne will be playing for a club in the bottom half of the Premier League table. Palace seems a solid spot for him to land, and it’s hard to imagine anyone at Liverpool wishing him anything other than the best going forward.