Liverpool and Manchester City are reportedly set for a summer transfer battle to land the signature of Southampton fullback Ryan Bertrand.
Despite starting in their memorable UEFA Champions League final win against Bayern Munich in 2012, Bertrand failed to establish himself as a regular in the Chelsea side. Having joined the club’s youth setup in 2005, the defender would go on to make just 57 appearances for the Blues in all competitions, before joining Southampton in February 2015 following a string on loan spells.
Now 27, he has become one of the most consistent fullbacks in the Premier League and he also now has 12 international caps for England. The Saints were keen to reward him for his performances and last July he signed a new contract designed to keep him at St Mary’s until the summer of 2021, but it now appears as though they will face a battle to retain his services beyond this season.
A number of sources claim Jurgen Klopp has identified Bertrand for his Liverpool back four, which is perhaps of little surprise given he has helped Claude Puel’s side keep four clean sheets against them this season. If the Reds can secure UEFA Champions League football for next term, they will be confident they have as much chance as anyone of landing their man.
However, Pep Guardiola has also singled Bertrand out for a move to City. The Spaniard is prepared to let Gael Clichy leave the club when his contract expires this summer, and he is far from convinced by Aleksandar Kolarov on the left side of his defence. A move for the Southampton star would cost around £25million, a fee which is well within budget of both interested parties.
As much as the south coast club would prefer to keep hold of the player, who has made 100 appearances for them in all competitions, they have a reputation for cashing in on their best talent over the past few years. And with Sam McQueen and Matt Targett capable of stepping into Bertrand’s boots, a sizeable bid may be too difficult for them to turn down.