His future at Liverpool still remains up in the air but he would like to stay.
The England right-back was signed by Rafa Benitez in 2009 for a fee of around £18m.
During his time at Anfield he has received some criticism – some viewed him as too attacking but his game has improved remarkably. Current boss Brendan Rodgers has praised Johnson on several occasions, in particular saying that he is the kind of player that you don’t really notice or appreciate until he’s not there.
Some have said the obstacles to him agreeing a new deal – with his current one running out at the end of next season – have been down to his wages.
Though Johnson is quoted saying: “I’m more than happy to sign a new contract and I’d love to stay here for many more years. But at the moment that is not for me to decide because I’ve not been offered anything and I’ve not been told I’m going to be sold.”
Judging by that quote, it seems that wages aren’t the big barrier that speculation in certain places would have you believe. If he is enjoying his time at the club so much, then a decrease in his wages shouldn’t be too much of a problem to negotiate.
Good full-backs are hard to come by, and though he has had his critics, Johnson is still a player capable of performing in the best teams at the highest level, both for his attacking threat and defensive work.
But he has also proved that he is a committed individual, having played through the pain barrier prior to Brendan Rodgers leaving him out of the team in order for him to get treatment on some injuries, and has subsequently returned to the side in better shape.
There is also the factor of him offering the side more versatility. Not only is it difficult to find top class full backs – but it is even more difficult to find one that can operate effectively on both flanks.
Also with Liverpool's current position - it's looking likely they will be back in the Champions League next season. So with the side playing more games at the highest level, keeping hold of quality players is going to be essential if they want to compete on four fronts.
Being 29-years-old is far from being over the hill, and if Liverpool were to secure the signature of a younger full-back - Barcelona's Martin Montoya has been mentioned on a few occasions - an experienced professional who plays the same position as him can only help them develop during their earlier days at the club.
If you’ve got hold of a player who still has many years to offer the club at the highest level, it would be a bit foolish for Liverpool to let him go now, wouldn’t it?
image: © kong niffe
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