Former Gillingham youth product Ryan Bertrand has made a big impact in the Premier League in recent years and the Southwark-born 28-year-old continues to be courted by a number of top clubs. The Southampton star has been linked with big-money transfers to both Liverpool and Manchester City and could well be in line for a big money January move.
Bertrand was snapped up by Chelsea in 2005 for an initial fee of £125,000 with a further four payments of £100,000. Gills chairman Paul Scally remains convinced that the club were stitched-up by the Premier League outfit, claiming they played the system in getting him so cheaply. Despite getting a further payment upon the full-back’s Blues debut, Scally was adamant the club had been duped and labelled the deal as ‘derisory’.
Bertrand left the club as a 16-year-old having progressed through their academy but failed to break into Chelsea’s first team until April 2011. He spent seven years in Kent where academy staff converted him from a marauding left winger to an attack-minded left wing-back and he’s never looked back since. Despite having never watched him play in their colours, many Gills supporters believe he may be the club’s finest export and have enjoyed watching their former star pull on an England shirt in recent years.
The 28-year-old has excelled since leaving Chelsea and has made 79 appearances for Southampton since initially joining on loan in July 2014. His consistency and ability to get forward and launch attacks have seen him catch the eye of many possible suitors including early Premier League pacesetter Manchester City. Pep’s side remains unbeaten after 11 games but lost left-back Benjamin Mendy to injury back at the end of September and are eyeing up Bertrand as a possible replacement.
The Citizens are looking unstoppable so far this campaign and Bertrand is the kind of player who would perfectly adapt to their attack-minded philosophy. Pep’s men are a short-priced 4/25 in the latest Premier League football odds and look frankly incredible both going forward and in defence. Bertrand could soon add a Premier League winners medal to his personal trophy cabinet if he is snapped up by the league leaders.
The Gills reportedly received around £1.4 million in compensation as part of the deal which took Bertrand from Chelsea to Southampton and the clubs fans can revel in the fact that their academy produced and nurtured one of the best left-backs in the top flight.
He could feature for England at the World Cup 2018 which gets underway on June 14, by which time he may be a regular at the Etihad Stadium. He’s also been linked with a move to Liverpool, but Jurgen Klopp’s side shelled out for the services of Andrew Robertson in the summer whilst City have been deploying midfielder Fabian Delph at left-back since Mendy’s unfortunate injury. A move to Manchester seems far more likely.
There are a number of young players in the current Gillingham side who are aiming to help them battle their way to League One survival and many of them will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Ryan Bertrand who continues to go from strength to strength as each season passes.