Crystal Palace are reportedly close to signing right-back Nathaniel Clyne on a free transfer. The Englishman has been a free agent after he was released by Liverpool at the end of last season, and did not play a single minute in the entire 2019-20 season for the Reds.
As per The Athletic, the Eagles are reportedly keen on signing Clyne on a short-term deal until the end of January. The 29-year-old has been training with Palace since his contract with Liverpool expired. Clyne began his career at the club, having come through the academy.
He played four seasons for the Eagles when they were in the Championship from 2008 to 2012, before joining Premier League side Southampton. Clyne is an England international, having played 14 times for his national side.
Nathaniel Clyne to Crystal Palace – A good decision by the club?
Clyne injured his anterior cruciate ligament in 2019, which ruled him out for almost the entire season, and he was allowed to leave by the club when his contract expired. Before the emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Clyne was Liverpool’s first-choice right-back, and was a pretty consistent player at right-back.
The full-back is a player who likes to bomb forward at every opportunity and put in crosses into the box. The Englishman, in his prime, had the pace and strength to get up and down the right side from his right-back position.
He was a solid player when he was fit, but there are question marks as to whether he can get back to that level after a serious injury, as well as missing a year of football. Clyne could be a gamble, but a smart one, for those in the bottom half of the Premier League, but Crystal Palace shouldn’t be one of those sides.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson already has plenty of options in the right-back slot. His first-choice, currently, is Joel Ward, while he also has Martin Kelly, as well as new signing Nathan Ferguson, to fill that spot.
Ward and Kelly have vast Premier League experience and are reliable full-backs, while Ferguson is a promising young player. Signing Clyne would neither be an upgrade nor add to an area of the pitch that needed strengthening.
The addition of Clyne could also impede the progress of Ferguson, who is in his first season in England’s top-flight. Having said that, he has trained with the team, and there is clearly something Hodgson sees in him that he can make use of in the season, so it remains to be seen how he will perform.