Wednesday 24 January 2018

Nathaniel Clyne moves closer to Southampton exit with Man United and Chelsea poised

Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne
Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne

Jeremy Wilson

Nathaniel Clyne is moving closer to a summer transfer to Manchester United or Chelsea after being dropped on Saturday by Southampton and then describing himself as “flattered by the interest from the big clubs”.

Southampton have offered Clyne an extension to a contract that expires in 2016 but he has so far refused to agree a new deal and appears conscious that a number of leading English clubs are now considering a summer bid. “I'm flattered by the interest from the big clubs,” he said. “It shows that I'm doing well and I've had a good season."

Clyne was dropped for Saturday's 2-0 win against Hull City, with Koeman preferring to play Maya Yoshida – who has signed a new contract - in central defence and then shuffling Toby Alderweireld to right-back. Koeman said that Clyne would be back in contention to play against Stoke City on Saturday and that he had decided to rest the 24-year-old.

Southampton are only five points behind fourth-placed Manchester City in the race for Champions League football, with Chelsea and Manchester United among those clubs now almost certain to take two of the other places. United have a longstanding interest in Clyne but he was also watched by Chelsea scouts in the defeat against Everton 10 days ago.

"Champions League football is everyone's dream and hopefully we can do it for Southampton,” he said. Clyne also outlined his disappointment at being dropped on Saturday from what has been the best defence in the Premier League.

“I was a bit disappointed not to be in the starting team, everyone wants to start,” he said.

“It was a bit of a shock but there are a lot of players fighting for position and when you are not in the team you just have to keep fighting to get back in. Right now I'm just focused on playing for Southampton. There are still lots of points to play for.”

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