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Barcelona Transfer News: Latest on Nathaniel Clyne, Glen Johnson Rumours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2016

DERBY, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool during the EFL Cup Third Round match between Derby County and Liverpool at iPro Stadium on September 20, 2016 in Derby, England. (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)
James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Barcelona are reportedly looking to the Premier League for options at right-back, including Liverpool's Nathaniel Clyne and even Stoke City's Glen Johnson.

An exclusive from James Dickenson of the Daily Express stated Liverpool's Clyne is viewed as one potential replacement for Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal. Still, Dickenson doesn't think the Reds will be willing to sell former Southampton defender Clyne.

The rumours regarding Clyne have come after an article from Spanish publication El Mundo Deportivo (h/t ESPN FC's Jack Rathborn) reported that Barca are tracking Johnson. It's an outlandish rumour, but Rathborn spelled out how Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is keen to sign a low-cost right-back in the January transfer window.

Barca are reportedly seeking an experienced alternative to Roberto.
Barca are reportedly seeking an experienced alternative to Roberto.Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

The reports also made clear how Johnson is far from the only veteran full-back being considered:

The former Liverpool defender is currently injured which may present a problem, but given that the other names on the Barca list are reportedly Shakhtar Donetsk's 34-year-old Darijo Srna and Juventus outcast Stephan Lichtsteiner, 32, perhaps Johnson will end up plying his trade at the Camp Nou after all given that most other available defenders are cup-tied in the Champions League.

Several, including Richard Innes of the Daily Mirror, were quick to dismiss the Johnson story as beyond fanciful: "Can someone stop football now, please? We'd like to get off."

Seeing Johnson's name linked with Barcelona does rate as a surprise, particularly at this stage of his career. In fairness, the one-time West Ham United prospect has been signed by big clubs in the past, specifically Chelsea and Liverpool.

Johnson has emerged as a shock target for Barca.
Johnson has emerged as a shock target for Barca.James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

However, he's now 32, and Johnson's skills have long been on the decline. At best, he'd seem destined to be no more than a benchwarmer with the five-time UEFA Champions League winners.

By contrast, Clyne would merit a larger role. The 25-year-old has quickly matured into one of the best full-backs in the game.

Not only is he terrific going forward, boasting an awesome engine and underrated technique in the final third, but Clyne is also a capable defender with the recovery pace to track runners and the strength to make crucial last-ditch tackles.

Those qualities have proved vital to Liverpool's free-flowing game this season, so it makes sense for Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp to be keen to keep him. By the same token, it also makes sense for Barca to be running the rule over viable full-backs.

The club has struggled to replace Dani Alves since the Brazilian left for Juventus this summer. Converted midfielder Roberto has most often been trusted, while Enrique is said to be willing to sell ex-Sevilla man Vidal, per Spanish source Sport (h/t Dan Pellegrini of the Sun).

Still, it's easier to believe Barca will set their sights higher than Johnson, even if Clyne may eventually play his way into receiving a big-money offer from Spain.

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