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A host of top clubs are interested in securing Ryan Bertrand's services
A host of top clubs are interested in securing Ryan Bertrand's services

Ryan Bertrand is heading for the exit door at St Mary’s — but he will not be short of suitors this summer.

The Southampton left-back is out of contract at the end of the campaign and will leave the South Coast club after their final Premier League game of the season with West Ham this afternoon. 

Available on a free, the 31-year-old might not necessarily be a signing that will excite fans of the division’s top clubs.

But here is why the experienced defender will be a wanted man when the curtain comes down on his time with the Saints.

Gunners interested

Bertrand has already been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal, who are searching for a left-back to provide cover for Kieran Tierney.

Sead Kolasinac is still contracted to the club but seems certain to leave, while Bukayo Saka’s future is in a more advanced position on the right.

Bringing in the former Chelsea star would be a relatively cheap option at a time when funds are limited at the Emirates.

Pep’s priority

The same situation applies to Manchester City, who are also believed to be interested in the Southampton ace.

Pep Guardiola has never really found a truly dependable, long-term option at left-back, even if Oleksandr Zinchenko and Joao Cancelo have impressed there this season.

The latter is primarily a right-back and the former began his career as an attacking midfielder, so there is certainly room for a specialist.

Benjamin Mendy, meanwhile, has always shown promise but his struggles with injury have repeatedly set him back.

There is a need to be met and Bertrand looks like a logical target to add depth to the squad.

Ryan Bertrand is adept at linking defence to attack down the left flank
Ryan Bertrand is adept at linking defence to attack down the left flank

Alternative options

The England international may also be keen to explore options where first-team football is more readily available.

At both Arsenal and City, Bertrand would have to be content with being second choice — but comments made after announing his Southampton departure suggest he might not be satisfied with sitting on the bench.

He said: "This has been a difficult decision for me but the time has come for me to seek a new home that allows me the freedom to play and maximise my contribution to the team."

Overseas

Could Ryan Bertrand try his luck in Serie A of Ligue 1 next season?
Could Ryan Bertrand try his luck in Serie A of Ligue 1 next season?

Should Bertrand seek the adventure of a trip abroad, following in the footsteps of fellow English full-back Kieran Trippier, a move to AC Milan or Monaco could be a possibility.

The glamour of Italy or the French Riviera may appeal but so might a switch to a club such as Crystal Palace or Leicester.

Palace are searching for a replacement for Patrick van Aanholt, who is out of contract in the summer, while Leicester are believed to be long-time admirers of the 19-cap international.

Interest galore

There will be plenty of options for Bertrand to consider in the weeks ahead, given his pedigree and the lack of cost involved.

After 240 appearances for Southampton, the time feels right for the veteran defender to take on a new challenge as he enters the twilight years of his career.

With little risk attached and plenty of potential upside, Bertrand could well be one of the bargains of the upcoming transfer window.

Tags

SouthamptonWest Ham UnitedPremier League

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