Liverpool Should Urge Caution over New Glen Johnson Contract

Max MuntonLiverpool CorrespondentMarch 25, 2014

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 22:  Glen Johnson of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Liverpool at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 22, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers wants to give Glen Johnson a new deal at Liverpool, but with the wing-back being one of the highest earners at Anfield, should the club think twice before offering the England international an extension?

Rodgers’ comments to James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo on Monday at least doused the reignited speculation linking Johnson with Real Madrid, as per John Percy of The Telegraph last week: 

We want to keep Glen here. There is no question about that, especially now he’s in this form. He’s 29 and we feel that he has still got good years ahead of him.

Rodgers’ words will have gone some way to reassuring Johnson after he made public his anxiety over not having been offered a new deal earlier in March, as per Rajvir Rai of the Daily Mail:

I know some people have been saying Liverpool don't want to pay me my current wages, but I've not heard that. No-one has come to me from Liverpool at all. I don't know the situation the club are in or if they want to renew it. So I've not got a decision to make other than to see my contract out because no-one is telling me any different.   

The sceptics will argue that considering the position Liverpool are in and their potential to win an exciting Premier League title race, Rodgers was never going to come out and say Johnson was playing for a new deal. 

Furthermore, Rodgers’ has put an end to unnecessary transfer speculation that could have distracted Johnson. 

The manager will undergo another period of transition with Liverpool in the summer should they qualify for the Champions League, so whatever Rodgers words right now, Johnson’s future will still be up for review then.


Assessing Johnson's Future

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01:  Glen Johnson of Liverpool competes with Danny Welbeck of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on September 01, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The decision as to whether to offer Johnson a new contract will be a difficult one for Rodgers and his team, one made up of strategic footballing decisions as well as economic resistance.

Johnson is a wing-back of immense talent, offering Liverpool defensive and attacking options on the right and left.

Since returning from some time on the sidelines in February, Johnson has boasted an 85 percent pass-accuracy record and won 80 percent of his take-ons, according to Squawka

This isn’t an article to rebuke the recent performances of Johnson, despite a patchy first half of the season, but there are two looming question marks over his future at Liverpool. 

His high wages—thought to be around £110,000 per week, per Pearceand his age are stumbling blocks.


Taking Johnson On Liverpool's Ride

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01:  Glen Johnson of Liverpool is helped down the tunnel during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on September 01, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Johnson will be almost 31 years old by the time his current deal at Liverpool expires at the end of June 2015. His pace, strength and effectiveness will almost inevitably subside.

With Champions League qualification on the horizon, Liverpool’s fixture schedule will become increasingly congested. Does Rodgers see Johnson as the man to go with the Reds to the next level?

There’s no doubting Johnson’s credentials as an athlete right now, but as time goes by, will his stamina stay with him, or will Rodgers look to a bring in a fresher, dynamic, younger transfer target?

Whilst Johnson would no doubt be a superb player to keep on at the club and has been a fantastic servant since Rafa Benitez signed him from Portsmouth in 2009, a regular first-team place would surely continue to be needed to justify his high wages. 

Assuming Champions League qualification is achieved, Rodgers’ summer of restructuring the squad for an attack on both domestic and European fronts could well see big decisions made on the future of several key players: Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Lucas Leiva and Johnson himself, to name a few.

The good thing for Liverpool right now is that no decisions need to be made immediately. They can continue their title charge with the shared ethos and objectives Rodgers has instilled in the squad.

Until the outcome of 2013/14 is decided, no fair decision can be made on the likes of Johnson either way.