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Glen Johnson on Lewandowski to Chelsea: “I think you have to try and sign him”

Glen Johnson believes Chelsea should make a move for Robert Lewandowski.
Glen Johnson believes Chelsea should make a move for Robert Lewandowski.

The Premier League title race has come to a dramatic conclusion with Manchester City coming from two goals down to overcome Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa side on the final day of the season, pipping Liverpool to the title in the process. Former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson spoke to BettingOdds.com to discuss how the title race unfolded, the Champions League final, pitch invasions and why Chelsea should make a move for Robert Lewandowski. 

Firstly, you have to be proud of your former club Liverpool’s efforts in the title race.

“If Liverpool weren’t around then Manchester City would have either won the league back in January or probably wouldn’t even be the team they are today because they wouldn’t have anyone pushing them. I think there’s a massive amount of respect between both clubs. Manchester City definitely deserve to win it with what they’ve done, fair play to them, but it’s just a shame because Liverpool couldn’t do any more than they did.”

In the wake of Manchester City’s victory over Aston Villa on sunday, Aston Villa’s goalkeeper Robin Olsen was hit by a fan during the pitch invasion at the end of the game. There’s a lot of talk of doing more to control the fan invasions on the pitch. Where do you think the line should be separated between enforcing fans to remain in the stands and when should they be allowed on the pitch? Do you think it’s acceptable for fans to come on the pitch?

“No, it’s not, because that’s not their place. I can understand it in the moment where they’ve won the league and they come on and they’re happy, that’s nice. But even that shouldn’t happen despite it at least being done in a positive manner. But when you get the scumbags coming on, it’s too hard to police because there are too many people. They could be carrying anything and all the players are performing and they’re the ones in danger, it’s a joke.”

Liverpool and Real Madrid will contest the Champions League final on May 30th. Firstly, do you believe Liverpool will come out victorious? Do you believe that Liverpool losing out on the Premier League title will spur them on to complete the treble? How are they going to beat this Madrid outfit? And what’s the biggest threat this Madrid side pose?

“I don’t think they need spurring on. If you can’t get motivated for a Champions League final then I don’t know what’s going on. They seem super professional, they know exactly what’s going on. They had a kick in the backside on Sunday, but it was always going to be tight. If Liverpool had won the Premier League then it would have been a mini-miracle. Manchester City were always in the driving seat, until they went 2-0 down. So I don’t think they were surprised. Each team that gets to a Champions League final deserves to be there and Real Madrid have just beaten the team that have won the Premier League, so they’re not a Mickey Mouse side. It’s going to be two giants going at it, toe-to-toe, and they’ll have all the motivation they need to try and lift the trophy for sure.

I think Liverpool just have to play their own game. They’re gonna have a few big figures missing, so they might play slightly differently, but I think some teams just show these giants too much respect and Liverpool are always at their best when they’re on the front foot and pressing everyone and charging around, and that’s what suffocates people and gets the ball back quickly. I don’t think they’ll show this Madrid side too much respect. 

“Real Madrid have got big players and some youngsters that are absolutely rapid and aren’t afraid to play at this level, so I’d say the young players in the side pose a problem to this Liverpool team. They’ve got the youngsters who have come in just fearless and then they’ve also got people who are going for the Ballon d’Or, so it’s a beautiful sort of combination, I guess. They don’t have the big names that they used to back when they had nearly the best player in the world in every position but they’re still a fantastic side that plays really well with each other.”

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Last time Liverpool played Real Madrid in the Champions League final, Mo Salah’s game was cut short after he was injured by Sergio Ramos. Liverpool lost that game 3-1, so this time around, do you believe Mo Salah will be out for blood?

“Yes definitely, but in a nice way. He’s certainly going to want to put it right. It was unfortunate what happened before, but we all know how Mo plays. He won’t play any different as he’s not the type of player to let the occasion get to him. He will know that in the back of his mind, and if he’s fit, you’d back him to perform.”

Who has been Liverpool’s Player of the Year?

“I would go with the keeper, Alisson. You can’t win the Premier League or even come close without a top goalkeeper. We’ve seen him do it week-in, week-out but there was a save he made against Wolves that stopped Liverpool going 2-1 down, and it was a save which was ridiculous. It was fantastic. Wolves could have won the game if that goes in. Alisson has to be ready for it. Liverpool don’t win that game if he doesn’t make that save.”

Liverpool are linked with a move for Jude Bellingham’s brother Jobe from Birmingham City. Do you believe they believe in the player or is it just a clever tactic by Liverpool to eventually lure Jude from Borussia Dortmund in the near future?

“I’ve heard of him but I’ve never seen him play. I don’t think Liverpool would buy him if they didn’t think he had potential. I’m sure they’ve liked what they’ve seen and, of course, he’s got great pedigree and he could be his own player or even as good as his brother. So it could be tactical, but I don’t think Jude is going to go to a football club just because his brother is there. Football is short and you don’t know when that will happen, or what club he’s at, at the time. I'm sure they’re just hoping he turns out to be as good as his brother.”

The Guardian are claiming that Chelsea could make a move for Barcelona target Robert Lewandowski, who we mentioned earlier. He looks like he’s finally set to leave Bayern Munich this summer, so should Chelsea do all they can to hijack Barcelona’s move for the Polish striker if he’s available?

 

“In terms of the player himself, then yes. But business-wise, what that might do to [Romelu] Lukaku, if he’s not playing where’s he going to go, how much is he going to be worth. They bought him for an awful lot of money. But at the same time, if they give him another six months and he doesn't perform, then they might miss out on the top four. It’s a tough one. While Lewandowski is available on the free, I think you have to try and sign him.”

The news came out this week that Barcelona bound Andreas Christensen sat out the FA Cup final ahead of his contract expiring. It was then found that he had sat out a number of other games on top of that too, so as someone formerly associated with Chelsea, will you be happy to see the back of him?

“I’m not too sure about the games he’s missed, or why he’s missed them. I don’t know the ins and outs. I find it hard as a player to believe that someone would say that they don’t want to play in the FA Cup final, but if that is true, then you’d argue that you don’t want players with that sort of mentality about. Obviously I like the guy as a player, but I guess if that’s true, then his head is just somewhere else already. If he’s not committed and he’s picking and choosing the games he wants to play, that’s not a proper teammate. You can’t be doing that.”

 

Today's Football Tips

Chelsea full backs César Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are reportedly both interested in returning to Spain with Barcelona this summer. Firstly, do you believe it could be the time for Azpilicueta to leave the club, considering his drop off in form and the fact that he’s won everything there is to be won at the club? And secondly, do you believe letting Alonso go would be a mistake?

 

“Again, I think it all comes down to what the players want. I’ve never been a fan of keeping players at clubs that don’t want to be there. It just doesn’t make sense. I’m not saying that either of those guys are saying that by the way. They’ve won everything at Chelsea and now they might want to go back home to Spain, closer to their families and let them live their life in the sun for a bit.”

If Alonso is to depart, then Chelsea are linked with a move for soon to be free agent Ivan Perišić from Inter Milan. A winger by trade, Perisic has filled in as a wing-back on many occasions, so in that sense, would a move for him represent a smart bit of business by your former club?

“Yes, absolutely. it would represent a smart bit of business. He’s another top player who can play in a few positions. If Alonso’s going to leave the club and you can bring in a player like him on a free, who can play in a couple of positions, then it sounds like a no brainer.”

Despite not making the final of the Europa League and losing out to Manchester United for sixth place, do you still believe this season has been a successful one for West Ham?

“Absolutely, it’s been a great season. Nobody expected them to be fighting in and around the top four. Anytime they’re around there then that’s proof that they’ve been outperforming. In terms of the size of their squad and the way they’re playing and to get to the Europa League semi-finals highlights how good a season they’ve had. It’s a shame they couldn’t have maintained it for a bit longer and reached the final or finished in sixth, but they still deserve a lot of credit and I think they’ve done really well.”

 

The Daily Mail have claimed that West Ham are making an offer to sign Jesse Lingard this summer. Now if Newcastle are pulling out of the deal reportedly due to his wage demands, then surely West Ham aren’t going to throw silly money at him?

“I can’t imagine West Ham throwing silly money at Jesse Lingard. It may be a case of the player trying his luck. He doesn’t deserve the money that’s being quoted regarding the Newcastle United rumours, so he’s probably just seeing if he can get away with it I guess. If a move to Newcastle doesn’t happen now because of that then maybe he will start thinking logically and West Ham can get a deal done.” 

Reports in Spain are suggesting that Real Madrid could make a move for Tottenham striker Harry Kane after missing out on Kylian Mbappé. How great would it be to see the Englishmen at arguably the biggest club in world football? Would it be a good move for Kane?

“I think he’d love it. To live in Madrid and play for a club like that, then you can’t turn it down. I believe he would do fantastically in La Liga, he could be a part of a team that are winning things and getting to finals and he would improve them. If the move’s a possibility then I believe both Real and Harry would be really happy with that.”

 

And finally, your former England teammate Wayne Rooney is behind Vincent Kompany, Joey Barton and Mike Jackson in third in the running for the vacant manager's position at Burnley. Do you believe this would be the perfect role to aid his progression as a manager?

“It will be a tough job for whoever takes it. To be fair, they’d probably keep most of their players as a lot of them aren’t Premier League players. In that case, the squad would be good, they’ve got some good lads there who work their socks off, so they’d probably be one of the top teams in the Championship and it would be a good place for Wayne to go and win football matches and earn his stripes. It’s local to him too, so it would be a perfect move for him.”

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