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Rumour Mongering: Liverpool Line Up Johnson Replacement

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Right back looks likely to be a priority this summer, and rumour has it Liverpool are looking young and English for Glen Johnson’s replacement with Leeds United’s 21-year-old Sam Byram.

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At the start of the season, most Liverpool fans felt comfortable with Glen Johnson, Jon Flanagan, and Javier Manquillo as the club’s right backs. All had their own question marks, and none was perhaps seen as a lock to start, but between the three most assumed Liverpool would be able to at worst make do, while at best one of the youngsters might have developed into something special.

Instead, Javier Manquillo has found himself frozen out entirely since the shift to three at the back, Jon Flanagan continues to struggle to return from an injury that has kept him out the entire season, and Glen Johnson remains unimpressive when fit enough to start—and he’s rarely been fit enough to start. All told, then, it’s not a huge surprise to see Liverpool being linked to a well regarded young English right back.

That right back is Leeds’ 21-year-old Sam Byram, who has made more than 100 Championship appearances in his young career since breaking through in 2012. According to the Mirror and Daily Star, at least, he won’t be reaching another milestone with his boyhood club, as Liverpool have a tentative deal in place to sign him for £8M at the end of the season.

Though not the most well known name to many, Byram has a solid return for Leeds this season, with three goals and three assists in 34 appearances. He also has experience playing further up the pitch at right back, which might make him better suited for the fullback role in a Brendan Rodgers side than more defensively minded players like Flanagan and Manquillo. Plus he’s young and English.

Sunderland and Southampton have previously been linked to the player, with Southampton believed to have had a £4.5M bid for him turned down last summer.