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Glen Johnson on who Liverpool should sign this summer: “I like Marco Verratti”

Glen Johnson would like Marco Verratti at Anfield next season.
Glen Johnson would like Marco Verratti at Anfield next season.

Liverpool have already secured the signing of French defender Ibrahima Konaté ahead of the new Premier League season which kicks off this weekend, but the club’s former defender Glen Johnson has backed his former side to make moves for Euro 2020 winners Lorenzo Insigne and Marco Verratti.

BettingOdds.com caught up with the former England international to discuss the future’s of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nat Phillips, and Tammy Abraham, as well as his predictions for who will win the Premier League title this season and the 2021 Ballon d’Or.

With still a month to go in the transfer window, in an ideal world, who would you like to see your former side Liverpool sign this summer?

“I really like Lorenzo Insigne. He’s been brilliant for years, but he performed very well during the Euros. I just enjoy the way he plays and I think he would suit Liverpool too. 

“I like Marco Verratti as well. They’re two huge names so it’s not rocket science choosing them as ideal signings for Liverpool.

“During the Euros you could see both of their desire to win and that’s what’s needed if you’re going to win league titles. You need those sorts of characters.”

Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is linked with a loan move to West Ham this summer. Do you believe Oxlade-Chamberlain needs a move away from Anfield this summer to reignite his career?

“Yes. Possibly. West Ham’s a fantastic football club and they will let Alex enjoy his football. Obviously the only concern with Ox is that he’s got to stay fit, because he’s a fantastic player with bags of energy and great ability but that’s no good on the treatment table. 

“Hopefully his body can get through all of next season. But I think West Ham United and Oxlade-Chamberlain would be a perfect fit. Moyes would take the shackles off him, let him go and enjoy himself, and see what he can do. 

“Touch wood Alex can stay fit and get back to his best.”

 

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Bayer Leverkusen are reportedly interested in Liverpool defender Nat Phillips. How much did he impress you last season and do you believe it’s time for him to leave the club considering the signing of Ibrahima Konaté?

“He really impressed me as he came into the side during a really tough time and he stepped into shoes that were impossible to fill and I think all the other young kids did that as well. 

“They should all be proud of what they’ve done and Liverpool would have been considerably worse off if they didn’t step in and perform. 

“I don’t think Nat should leave now as he’s young. I’d like to see him leave on loan as he shouldn’t give up on the Liverpool dream just yet and I’m pretty sure he won’t.

“If he could get a loan deal to a top side where he could gain loads of experience then I think that would be a very good option for him.”

 

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has been linked with a loan move to Arsenal and West Ham in the past week. If they’re unable to secure the signature of Erling Haaland, do you believe he still has a future at Chelsea considering that Olivier Giroud has already departed the club?

“No I don't actually. Even if another club doesn’t sign him, I don’t think the manager likes him and that’s been proven by the many times Tammy could have come into the side and Tuchel opted for something different instead. 

“Tammy however can get enough goals in the Premier League so I’m sure there will be many teams after him, but for him I think the time is right for him to leave Chelsea.”

 

At this moment in time, who would you give the 2021 Ballon d’Or to?

 

“I’d probably say N’Golo Kanté. You don’t often see holding midfielders win the trophy. It’s normally strikers because they do the glossy bit, don’t they? But I’m going to go with Kanté. 

“None of these teams can perform if you don’t have a Kanté. Unless you’ve got that anchor, like a Lucas Leiva, you have to have that sort of player to perform. But when the strikers go forward and perform, they forget about Kanté. They forget that he’s just won the ball back on the edge of the box and driven it 30 yards. I’d like to see a holding midfielder get it. It’s like the only people that appreciate that role are the players themselves.”

 

Norwich v Liverpool odds

And finally, who are you backing for the title this season? Could either of your former clubs Liverpool or Chelsea mount a serious title challenge?

“I think if Chelsea get a new striker I think they could really take the title race.

“I fear for myself about United! They’re banging on the door and they weren’t even in form. I think their home record last year was awful and they were the ones who took the race to City. I think if they get it right and improve week in, week out, they can be a force this season. Obviously City are going to be favourites and rightly so because of their squad. But if Chelsea sign a striker I think they could do it.”

 

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