Liverpool are set to face competition for one of their primary targets in this summer’s transfer window. Mauricio Pochettino’s appointment as Tottenham manager on Tuesday has led to widespread reports that he has made immediate plans to take Adam Lallana with him from Southampton.
Lallana was the standout performer for Pochettino at St Mary’s last season, with his nine goals and consistent creativity from midfield earning him a call up to England’s World Cup squad and the attention of Liverpool. The Reds, aiming to build on their second-place finish last season and a return to the Champions League, have already had a £20 million bid rejected by Southampton for the 26-year-old.
The Guardian reports that Southampton want significantly more for a player who came up through their youth ranks and progressed with them from England’s third tier to the top half of the Premier League. Liverpool are said to believe that the player wants to move to Anfield, although the prospect of Lallana’s former coach now vying for his services throws a new twist into the saga. Liverpool will want the transfer wrapped up before the player has a chance to increase his value at the World Cup. Lallana, though, remains relaxed about the future.
“Whether my future gets sorted before or after the World Cup makes no difference to me,” he said, according to the Liverpool Echo. “I am just fully focused on doing well for England and performing as well as I can.”
Manager Brendan Rodgers and the transfer committee at Liverpool appear keen to strengthen the team’s options in wide areas, having also targeted Dnipro’s Yevhen Konoplyanka in January. Liverpool are also one of the clubs to have been regularly linked with Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez. The Chile international signed for big money from Udinese three years ago but has struggled to become an integral part of the team at the Camp Nou. Still, Sanchez scored an impressive 19 La Liga goals last season and, despite strong reported interest from Juventus, Barcelona are adamant that he is not going anywhere.
“Alexis is not a Barcelona player who is on the market," president Josep Maria Bartomeu said, according to Sky Sports. "He has a contract with us and that is the only thing that counts. He has had an excellent season for us.
"Obviously, he is part of our plans for next season. We have always wanted him here and he is a highly valued player at this club. We do not know anything about the interest from Juventus,
Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed that Liverpool are interested in their midfielder, Emre Can, with the Reds said to be close to a deal. The Telegraph has reported that Rodgers is hopeful of tying up a £12 million deal to make the Germany Under-21 international his first signing of the window. The player joined Leverkusen from Bayern Munich last summer. Although he has a clause in his contract giving the German champions first option to buy him back, it is not thought to be active until next summer.
Some outlandish speculation has come from the Daily Mail, which claims that Liverpool will turn to former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli should Luis Suarez, who has again been linked with Real Madrid, leave Anfield in the coming months. According to the tabloid, Balotelli has had enough of the racist abuse he has suffered in Italy and is set on leaving Milan and returning to the Premier League, with Arsenal are also credited with an interest. A scenario where Balotelli winds up at either Arsenal or Liverpool is very difficult to envisage, however.