Glen Johnson in expensive £17m Anfield switch

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Future team-mates? Glen Johnson and Xabi Alonso

Future team-mates? Glen Johnson and Xabi Alonso

It seems that Portsmouth right back Glen Johnson is set for a big money move to Liverpool. The English right back has been regularly linked with the Anfield club over the past few months and now the transfer appears to be near completion.

He had an impressive 2008/09 campaign with Pompey. Cementing his place at right back, he so often flourished while his defensive partners were under-performing.

In doing so, he earnt a call up from Fabio Capello and is now favourite to secure the right back spot for the 2010 World Cup. Signed from Chelsea for £4 million, his price has quadrupled in the space of two seasons.

The lacklustre player that Chelsea purchased from West Ham United in 2003, has now matured into a solid right back. Strong both offensively and defensively, Benitez will hope that he can reproduce some of his excellent performances from last season.

Chelsea and Manchester City were reportedly both interested in signing the player, but it’s believed Johnson’s preferred destination was Liverpool. The clubs have now agreed a fee for the 24-year-old in the region of £17 million.

Benitez is expected to sell either left back Andrea Dossena or right back Alvaro Arbeloa to fund the deal. Portsmouth owed Liverpool a sum of around £7 million for the sale of Peter Crouch last year and that is included in the fee, reducing the amount to come out of Benitez’s transfer kitty.

Liverpool are currently suffering from the credit crunch, with the American owners struggling to reach loan payments. Considering the lack of funds, it begs the question has Benitez bought wisely, possibly blowing all his budget on one player?

Arbeloa was a solid right back. A consistent player, he rarely put a foot wrong without being outstanding. Linked with a move to Real Madrid, the Liverpool manager would settle for £8 million for the Spaniard, using the cash to fund the Johnson transfer.

If Benitez deemed Arbeloa to be surplus to requirements then maybe he would have found more value for money in Manchester City right back, Micah Richards. Richard’s has suffered a downturn in form, a few years linked with Chelsea for £18 million, reports suggested Liverpool could have acquired his services for as little as £4 million.

It remains to be seen if Glen Johnson is the missing piece in Liverpool’s jigsaw puzzle. Many fans may feel the money could have been spent strengthening the squad in other positions. The Anfield club have been linked with the likes of Antonio Valencia and David Silva. With the jury still out on Albert Reira and Ryan Babel having been a major flop, the Anfield club need a winger to provide quality service for the clinical Fernando Torres.

The price certainly seems inflated. This is undoubtedly due to his recent fine performances for England. Another factor is that Johnson being English, obviously would fall within proposed UEFA rules on foreign players.

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