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Clyne hit with ultimatum over Saints contract amid Manchester United interest

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has spoken about the difficulties of keeping right-back Nathaniel Clyne this summer. The England defender’s current contract expires in the summer of 2016, which means the South Coast club have a chance to sell the player this summer only, with him eligible to leave on a free in just over a years time. The interest Manchester United have shown for the right-back ahead of the summer has the player thinking about his future. Months ago, Clyne was reportedly willing to enter negotiations for a new contract in April, but that has since been shelved.

Koeman is obviously keen to keep the player, and who would blame him as he is a talent that will only get better. United are clearly looking to find that solid right-back, so they do not have to rely on Antonio Valencia all of the time, which has been the case this season, leaving Rafael da Silva in the dark, with an exit from the Old Trafford club looking more likely. Koeman has done will with Southampton this season, which was not expected after the likes of Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren all left the club in the summer. As reported by the Manchester Evening News, Koeman stated:

“It’s up to the press how they take those kind of comments.

“I like to play Champions League as well but that’s the aspiration for every football player and it’s a normal aspiration. If you don’t mention that, there’s something wrong.

“We are still in talking with the agent of Clyney, but it’s difficult. I read in the press there’s some interest.

“Nobody knocked on the door with an offer for Clyne, but we know (he has) one season on his contract and we want Clyne to stay at the club.

“We need understanding for that but nothing else.

“The club can’t fight against big teams in the Premier League because the money and the possibilities of them are still much higher than we have.”

Earlier this week, Clyne spoke about playing in the UEFA Champions League next season. Playing in Europe’s elite competition will only enable the player to become more of a player for both club and country. With the likelihood that Clyne will become England’s main right-back, over Tottenham Hotspur’s Kyle Walker, playing Champions League football will allow him to gain more experience of football abroad, which will only help his establish his place even more. Speaking to Sky Sports, Clyne said:

“It’s always good to have teams looking out for you, it shows how well you’ve been doing all season.

“I am going to take that, and keep on performing and be the best player I can be.

“Right now I’m concentrating on playing for Southampton, there are still games to play, and try to push for that fourth spot.

“I am an ambitious person and I want to play Champions League football. To win the title and the FA Cup, that is what I want.”

At this moment in time, Manchester United are looking more likely to be playing in the UEFA Champions League next season, sitting in third place with a four point lead over Manchester City in fourth and having an eight point lead over Liverpool in fifth with Southampton nine points below United in sixth place and Tottenham Hotspur eleven points behind the Red Devils in seventh place, which is where United finished last season. I am sure there will be lots of interest for Clyne this summer, who turned down a move to United in 2012 after the possibility of playing first team football was much stronger at the South Coast club.

Clyne will go onto become one of the best right-backs in England, providing he keeps his form going into next season. This season Clyne has made 35 appearances in all competitions for Southampton, scoring three goals, which is pretty good for a right-back. He has pace and the ability to go forward on occasion, which is what Louis van Gaal is looking for in line with his philosophy with defensive players starting an attack from the back, which is how United have been playing for the past couple of weeks. Clyne will only reinforce United’s side, meaning Valencia will not be utilised out of position for long stretches of the season, not that Valencia has not played well, he has been better than expected this season. This could be the summer where United take another full-back from Southampton, and hopefully, should the move materialise, he will establish his place in the side a bit better than Luke Shaw has since his move last summer.

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