After sealing a season-long loan to Southampton, Chelsea’s Ryan Bertrand is open to the idea of making the move a permanent one if all goes well on the south coast.
Having signed from Gillingham in 2005, aged 16, Bertrand has made 56 appearances for Chelsea since 2011, including starting in the 2012 Champions League final win, but his path to the first-team has been consistently blocked at left-back by the presence of Ashley Cole and later Cesar Azpilicueta.
Spending the second-half of last season at Aston Villa, after past spells at Bournemouth, Oldham Athletic, Norwich City, Reading and Nottingham Forest, the 24-year-old would have again found minutes sparse in 2014-15, after the recent £16 million signing of Atletico Madrid's Filipe Luis.
Serving as a replacement for Luke Shaw, following the defender’s £27 million move to Manchester United, Southampton’s have seen four other first-teamers leave the club this summer, with Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren all departing for Liverpool for a combined £48 million, and Calum Chambers sealing a £16 million move to Arsenal earlier his week.
Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has also handed in a transfer request, after expressing his displeasure at the transfer exodus, but Bertrand was quick to stress that new manager Ronald Koeman had reassured him prior to the move that the club is heading in the right direction.
‘They didn’t have to say much really. Once I went in there, seeing the setup and the manager in place, his ethos and the club’s ethos, that reassured me that things are still moving forward,’ he told the club’s official website.
‘I had a lot of options and a lot of interest but, having met the people in charge and spoken to the manager, it seemed like the perfect decision.’
Becoming Southampton’s third addition of the transfer window, following the arrivals of Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle, Bertrand also understands that, with fierce competition for places at Chelsea, his Saints spell could be seen as somewhat of a trial.
‘In a way, yeah, it is. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when it comes, but hopefully we get off to a good start and do well. Then we’ll see.’
|2013-14||Crossing Accuracy||Tackling Accuracy||Duel Won / apps||Dribbling Accuracy||Passing Accuracy||Dispossessed / apps||Apps||Mins|
|Ryan Bertrand||Chelsea/Aston Villa||6.67%||86.67%||4.53||36.00%||76.38%||0.47||17||1,455|
With two England caps to his name since his 2012 debut, Bertrand still possess undoubted potential but 2014-15 will be the first real chance he has had to establish himself in a full top-flight campaign, as he bids to help the club match last season’s surprise eight-place finish.
If he impresses, then a permanent move could certainly be on the cards, though Southampton may well find themselves facing competition for his signature by that stage, having already attracted interest from the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur this summer.