Southampton have made a name for themselves as the feeder club of Liverpool. Whilst the Saints put rising stars into the spotlight, the Merseysiders snap them up and complete the final steps towards greatness. Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane are now two of the most highly praised footballers on the planet, whilst Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also eventually ended up at Anfield following a detour to the Emirates.
One man who has failed to follow this narrative is forgotten Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne. The cast-off England international walked from the club this summer as a free agent, empty-handed despite his teammates’ historic success.
He is now all the way back where it started, at Crystal Palace – yet to play a single minute of football under Roy Hodgson.
After snapping up the exciting young right-back from the Eagles back in 2012, Southampton will have thought they’d bagged a real bargain. The south coast side paid just £2.8million for the then 22-year-old, who would go on to become a Saints centurion and contribute five goals and eight assists across his three years with the club.
When Brendan Rodgers came knocking in 2015, Southampton cashed in on a handsome £13million profit, after selling him to Liverpool for a reported £15.9million. Unfortunately for Clyne, the move wouldn’t be a dream one.
Jurgen Klopp took over at the hilt of Anfield just four months after the Englishman arrived and he had already started planning his changes. The 29-year-old went on to make a total of 103 appearances for Liverpool, but was gradually phased out of the team after the emergence of starlet Trent Alexander-Arnold. Once the youngster dipped his feet in the senior team, there was no going back for Klopp.
Clyne made just ten appearances across both the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons before being shipped out on loan to Bournemouth. There, he also struggled for game time, earning only 15 chances to play across all competitions (via Transfermarkt).
After being snubbed of his place by the now £99milli0n-valued Alexander-Arnold, the ageing full-back was not only left to leave as a free agent, but he was not given a Premier League winners’ medal for his troubles either. His long-term future at new club Crystal Palace is uncertain too, given he only signed a short-term contract with his former employers at the start of the month.
Southampton certainly cashed in at the right time and avoided dealing with the long-term effects of Clyne’s dip in form and his ongoing injury woes.