Southampton admit Man Utd target Clyne may leave

Nathaniel Clyne set for Man Utd?
Nathaniel Clyne set for Man Utd?

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has confirmed that talks to extend Nathaniel Clyne's contract with the club have been 'difficult', as Manchester United prepare to make their move for the England full-back.

Clyne, who has emerged as a key target for United, has refused to sign a new contract at Southampton and his current deal is set to expire in the summer of 2016.

That will leave Southampton in a weak bargaining position as they look to hang on to one of the best assets, with Koeman hoping the future of the 23-year-old can be resolved this month.

"We are still in talking with the agent of Clyney, but it's difficult. I read in the press there's some interest," confirmed Koeman.

"Nobody knocked on the door with an offer for Clyne, but we we need understanding of his position.

"We hope one day we will compare to the big ones, but that's difficult. We know our level, we know our possibilities.

"The club can't fight against big teams in the Premier League because the money and the possibilities of them are still much higher than we have."

"We don't wait until the end of the season because you know if there is a player who is left one season of his contract then you have to do something," he said.

"Of course we have to do everything to keep the player in the team, but I like to know it as soon as possible - not in the last week of the season, but the end of April. It's good to know something about his situation."

Clyne confirmed earlier this week that he is keen to play for a team competing in the Champions League and there is now an anticipation that United will follow up their interest in the defender with a firm offer in the coming weeks.