Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Friday May 30 2014
Liverpool appear to be ramping up their post-season transfer dealings with yet another offer made on a prospective new player...
Just hours after it emerged Liverpool had made an offer worth £16million for Spanish left-back Alberto Moreno, news broke yesterday evening that a bid had also been submitted for Southampton striker Rickie Lambert.
With negotiations on Lambert's team mates Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren, plus German midfielder Emre Can, said to be ongoing, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers appears keen to get the club's summer activity completed as soon as possible.
A striking alternative to Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge was always likely to be on the cards, particularly with current understudy Iago Aspas' brief stay at Anfield set to end, but in many ways Lambert is a shock candidate.
At 32 and with limited top level experience, the Merseyside-born forward appears to go against the mantra of Liverpool's usually youthful and resellable targets.
Lambert actually started out his career with the Reds but, after being released at the age of 15, was forced to ply his trade in the lower levels of the Football League.
A somewhat nomadic career, which included spells with the likes of Macclesfield Town and Rochdale, eventually took off in 2009 when Southampton paid Bristol Rovers just over £1million for his services.
Back-to-back promotions in 2011 and 2012 finally afforded Lambert the opportunity to play in the top flight at the age of 30.
It was a chance he grasped with both hands; scoring 28 Premier League goals over the past two seasons and subsequently earning international recognition with England.
Lambert, who has two goals in four appearances for the Three Lions and is in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad, is set to cost Liverpool £4m plus add-ons.
According to the BBC, amongst others, the club are hopeful of completing a medical before the player flys out to Miami on Sunday for friendlies with Honduras and Equador.
A physical presence with underrated technical ability, Lambert was heavily praised by Rodgers ahead of a meeting between Liverpool and Southampton earlier this season.
"He's probably never got the recognition for what a really good footballer he is," commented the Northern Irishman back in September.
"He is seen as a traditional big number nine, a typical British striker, but he's one of the most accomplished footballers I've seen.
"Look at his touch and the different types of goals he scores; he is a terrific player."
Lambert, who will pen a two-year contract with Liverpool, has an impressive overall record for the Saints of 117 goals in 235 appearances.
He is regarded as a free-kick specialist and has an exceptional penalty record, scoring 34 consecutive spot-kicks.
When this story began to emerge yesterday I was incredibly dismissive of it and even had a bit of a whinge about fabricated transfer speculation on social media... Alas it appears I must now eat a large slab of humble pie!
On first impressions going for Lambert seems a very obscure choice but further consideration does raise some sound reasoning behind it; he will provide a different option to what we already have, is a consummate professional and will already be familiar to Liverpool's large England contingent. Furthermore you can never have enough local born players with the club in their heart on the books.
The possibility of Lambert, who spent a large chunk of his career playing in the fourth tier, returning to the club who let him go almost two decades ago, and potentially appearing in the Champions League, is the stuff of fairytales.
£4million represents a great return on their investment for Southampton and, despite currently being managerless and adopting a firm stance over the future of some of their other personnel, it appears this transfer will go through imminently.
Likelihood (out of 5):
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Date:Friday May 30 2014
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