Glen Johnson Would Be Lucky to Survive Liverpool's Summer Clear-out

Matt Ladson@mattladsonFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2014

Liverpool's Glen Johnson in action during their English Premier League soccer match against Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, England, Sunday April. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Clint Hughes)
Clint Hughes/Associated Press

This week has seen all the major British newspapers reveal a rather lengthy list of players who Liverpool are willing to let leave this summer.

The lists total 13 players—some are obvious, while some are higher profile but not exactly surprises.

The Guardian's Andy Hunter and The Telegraph's Chris Bascombe write how the loans of Victor Moses and Aly Cissokho won't be made permanent—no shock there at all—while Pepe Reina, Oussama Assaidi, Conor Coady, Jack Robinson and Sebastian Coates, who have all been out on loan this season, are available.

Clint Hughes/Associated Press

Surprisingly though, they claim Brendan Rodgers is also willing to listen to offers for Fabio Borini and Suso—two players who have impressed on their loans at Sunderland and Almeria respectively and who fans expected to return to the club for next season.

Youth player Martin Kelly, who is now 24 and hasn't started a Premier League game since September 2012 due to long-term injury, is also available. A move that's best especially for his career.

Then there are last summer's signings that have failed to improve The Reds. Most notably Spanish duo Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas. Alberto, at 21, could perhaps be loaned in order to develop. Kolo Toure is also listed as a player who could leave, while Tiago Ilori is to be loaned out again according to the reports.

None of those players leaving would be a huge surprise. Of those, only Cissokho and Toure started more than 10 Premier League games for Liverpool in 2013/14.

Boris Grdanoski/Associated Press

Finally, there are the more high-profile names of Lucas Leiva and Daniel Agger. The reports state that Liverpool will only sell them for the right price but are willing to listen to offers.

With both of Agger and Lucas struggling to stay in the first team last season, their reported availability shouldn't be a surprise to the rational fan. Throw in the economic sense of selling two players while they retain a good resale value, who are both on higher wages than their place in the squad represents and whose prime years look to have been played already, and you get a clear picture on why it makes sense for the club.

Sales of Agger and Lucas would bring in money that can then be invested in improving the squad on more suitable players.



Amidst all those names, though, there is one player who will be lucky to survive Liverpool's clear-out this summer. Full-back Glen Johnson.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05:  Glen Johnson of England in action during the International Friendly match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium on March 5, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

England's first-choice right-back has seen his form fluctuate throughout the season, ending with his performance and subsequent Twitter reaction after the 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace.

There are many Liverpool supporters who expect Johnson to be one of the more high-profile departures this summer, not just for his performances and form during 2013/14 but also for the economic sense that it would make for the club.



Johnson departing this summer would make sense for Liverpool FC. Simple as that. In fact, it would be in the best interests of the club to do so.

He will be 30 in August and his contract expires next summer. He's also one of the highest-earning players at the club, as per James Pearce of The Liverpool Echo.

Liverpool won't be renewing his contract on similar terms. Owners FSG are keen to ensure that every transfer and player represents value. Each player must justify their wages. Does Johnson justify his as one of the club's highest-paid players?

Therefore, this summer represents the perfect time to sell Johnson while his stock remains high and he retains any resale value—seeing as he'd be free to talk to clubs to organise a free transfer by the next transfer window.

Furthermore, Liverpool already have players who can step in and replace Johnson.



Clearly a high priority for Rodgers this summer is the other side of defence, left-back, with Spaniard Alberto Moreno reportedly the top target for the position, as per The Liverpool Echo this week.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 26:  Jon Flanagan of Liverpool competes with Jozy Altidore of Sunderland
 during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Sunderland at Anfield on March 26, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Get
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Solving the perennial problem position would free up Jon Flanagan to revert to his more natural side on the right, thus giving Rodgers one option for Johnson's replacement.

Flanagan, 21, has earned his opportunity this season and could flourish further in his more natural role on the right.

Then there is the returning Andre Wisdom, who has spent the majority of this season with Derby County.

Wisdom, 21, is a powerful player who started life as centre-back before moving to right-back. Writing for This is Anfield, Derby supporter Ollie Wright explains how Wisdom "has been as good as a third centre back in providing extra height and power" in Steve McLaren's side, but he also shown real aptitude offensively.

DERBY, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Andre Wisdom of Derby County in action during the Sky Bet Championship Semi Final Second Leg between Derby County and Brighton & Hove Albion at iPro Stadium on May 11, 2014 in Derby, England.  (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Pete Norton/Getty Images

What Wright mentions there, the potential to play as a third centre-back, gives Rodgers further options in his squad. With an attacking left-back this would allow Liverpool to adapt their play to push the left-back ahead, a central midfielder such as Jordan Henderson moving to the right and giving the likes of Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho space in the middle to operate, but with a solid base behind them—something Liverpool have often lacked this season.

Wisdom's height in the team would also be an advantage on set pieces, in both boxes.

Between them, as long as a top-quality left-back is signed, Liverpool could do far worse than put their faith in Flanagan and Wisdom.

Rodgers has shown numerous times that he isn't afraid of putting his faith in youth and hopefully he does so again this summer.


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