Newly promoted Premier League side Southampton have moved quickly to secure the signing of highly rated right back Nathaniel Clyne following the end of his contract at Crystal Palace.
Over the past year media reports have linked the youngster, who has featured for England at both Under 19 and Under 21 level, with a move to various Premier League clubs including Manchester United, West Ham and Newcastle, but the 21 year old has instead opted to sign a four year deal at Saint Mary’s.
Despite moving after the expiration of his contract, Southampton will be required to pay a compensation fee for the development of the player as he is under 24 years of age.
Crystal Palace received a fee of £750,000 in 2008 when highly rated teenage midfielder John Bostock moved to Tottenham in similar circumstances. Unlike Bostock, who had only featured once for the first team before his move, Clyne has been a key member of the Crystal Palace team since his debut in October 2008.
He has enjoyed four successful seasons in the first team and was the youngest player to be ever present in the Football League in the 2010-11 season, making a total of 139 league appearances during his time with the Selhurst Park outfit.
Consequentially, Palace will be expecting a significantly greater fee than that received for Bostock, with co-chairman Steve Browett recently expressing his frustration at a lack of progress in negotiation of a satisfactory figure with the Saints, describing their most recent offer as “taking the mick.”
Should the two clubs be unable to thrash out an arrangement, the deal will go to a tribunal where the compensation package will be decided.
However, boardroom squabbles are unlikely to be the major concern of the player himself, who will be desperate to make a positive impact during his first season in the Premier League.