Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Must Hold on to Glen Johnson at All Cost

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2014

Tottenham's Nacer Chadli, left, heads the ball with Liverpool's Glen Johnson during their English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at the White Hart Lane stadium in London Sunday, Dec  15,  2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Spanish giants Real Madrid are planning a £5 million summer move for Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson, as reported by The Telegraph's John Percy.

The England international is yet to sign a new deal with the Reds, opening the door for Carlo Ancelotti to sweep in.

According to the article, the Fenway Sports Group, who owns Liverpool, has no intention of handing out large contracts to players in their 30s, a mark the 29-year old Johnson is about to hit.

Johnson has been one of Liverpool's most consistent defenders this season, averaging 2.5 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game. While the team has looked shaky on the defensive side at times this season (the Reds have conceded 38 EPL goals, most of all title contenders), Johnson has been the defence's main bright spot.

While the wing-back might not be a world-beater, it is vital the team makes sure he doesn't leave Anfield this summer.

Liverpool are once again emerging as a powerhouse club in the Premier League, having spent much of the past decade mired in mediocrity. Coach Brendan Rodgers has done a formidable job at the club, and it is important the club continues building on the foundation that has now been laid.

That means continuity.

Clint Hughes/Associated Press

Even if the club would be interested in upgrading the right-back position, it would be wise to keep hold of an experienced, veteran player that has seen it all and can fill in when needed. Johnson could still be useful in a lot of ways, not the least as a mentor.

More importantly, Johnson is still good enough to start. With a pass-completion percentage of 83.2 percent, Johnson is capable of contributing on the offensive end, a prerequisite for wing-backs in the modern game. No, he's not Dani Alves, but Liverpool need stability on the back end, not more goals.

As shared by The Liverpool Echo's James Pearce, Johnson has been more than solid as of late:

Without a new deal, Johnson would be free to leave Anfield in the summer of 2015 and join whichever team he chooses. If the mighty Real Madrid would consider the England international to be good enough to warrant a spot on their squad, you can be sure Rodgers would like to hold on to one of his most experienced defenders.

Liverpool's fans and the coaching staff are curious to see what they have in Jon Flanagan, the 21-year-old wing-back who has been given regular starts in the 2013-14 season, and with the youngster obviously boasting a lot of potential, their interest is understandable.

But Flanagan is just as able on the left wing as he is on the right, and trusting the youngster to take over for Johnson without the insurance the veteran will be there should Flanagan go through a bad spell wouldn't help the Reds one bit.

Liverpool boast one of Europe's best attacking units, and getting better defensively will be vital if the team wants to continue its rise to the very top of world football.

Losing one of your best defenders would not be the way to do that. The Reds and Johnson need to come to some sort of agreement before the end of the season to ensure the veteran will remain at Anfield for the foreseeable future.


Stats via unless otherwise noted.