In the run up to the offseason, Nathaniel Clyne was linked heavily with a move to Manchester United and, to a lesser extent, Chelsea. In the end, though, he only wanted one destination: Liverpool. It’s a similar story to the other three ex-Southampton players at the club.
Anfield, it seems, has an unexpectedly strong pull for those playing on the south coast. Or at least that’s what it was for Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, and Rickie Lambert. In Clyne’s case, the draw was at least in part those ex-Saints players who were already at Liverpool, in particular former teammate Lallana.
"We spoke a lot," said Clyne. "He said he wanted me to sign and I said if the deal moves along and gets done, I'd be with him as a teammate once again. He said it's a good club—a big club with a huge fan base. He said the team is good and a good bunch of lads. He told me I'd be made to feel welcome if I joined."
Though Liverpool’s signings from Southampton haven’t quite lived up to expectations since arriving, in the case of Lallana it was fairly clear the problem wasn’t talent but rather fitness, with the midfielder—who had rarely missed a game in all his years at Southampton—struggling through an injury-plagued season.
When fit, though, his talent has been clear and Liverpool have looked the better side for his presence. The expectations for Clyne will be similar: that he’s a good enough player to step into the first eleven at Anfield and make the side better for it. And he thinks the presence of Lallana and the others will help with that.
"It'll help me settle down with the team," added the 24-year-old, who broke into the England team last season and has so far made five appearances in Euro 2016 qualification. "Knowing a few of the players at the club is good. I can join in with the lads and I reckon I'll settle down easily.
"I’ve played at Anfield before and know what the atmosphere is all about. It's a great atmosphere and will make me rise to the challenge. When the crowd is roaring, it makes me go that little bit more. I'm really looking forward to it and hopefully it can push me on to putting on good performances."