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Could Adam Lallana Be the Missing Link in Midfield for Chelsea?

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Adam Lallana of Southampton reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion at St Mary's Stadium on January 11, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2014

It's been all change at Chelsea this year, but we shouldn't expect Jose Mourinho to rest on his laurels come the summer, with the Blues' evolution expected to continue in earnest after the season reaches its climax.

Throughout 2013-14, the Chelsea boss has made no secret of his desire to bring a new striker into the club come the end of the campaign and there are other areas within his squad that also need strengthening. Notably, central midfield.

Mourinho has an embarrassment of riches with his attacking options, yet further back, Chelsea appear a little threadbare.

Frank Lampard is rumored to be joining MLS outfit LA Galaxy when his contract expires, per ESPN, leaving just Ramires, Nemanja Matic, John Obi Mikel and the currently-injured Marco van Ginkel as Chelsea's out-and-out options in the middle.

With the shortcomings of Mikel and relative youth of van Ginkel, it's clear Chelsea will need to bring in reinforcements—of which the Daily Star claims Southampton's Adam Lallana could be one.

The Englishman doesn't come with the profile like that of other players regularly linked with a Stamford Bridge move. Nevertheless, it's a rumor that should leave Blues fans excited.

After all, Lallana fits the bill of what Chelsea need.

He's served an excellent apprenticeship at boyhood club Southampton, rising through the divisions to become a Premier League regular.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01:  Adam Lallana of Southampton is chased by Michael Essien of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Southampton at Stamford Bridge on December 1, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/G
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Now 25, he is entering his peak years and given his attributes, would be an ideal foil to Matic in the pivot.

He may not be as prolific, but Lallana is a midfielder in the same mould as Lampard—one capable of operating that box-to-box role his compatriot has mastered throughout his career.

Indeed, the England international has scored 10 goals in all competitions this season, with a further five assists as Saints continue to enjoy a promising campaign under Mauricio Pochettino.

Lallana has played further forward for Saints, a role into which he has grown at St. Mary's. With a true holding midfielder alongside him, though, a more withdrawn position in the middle at Chelsea wouldn't restrict him from making an impact.

Alongside defensive duties, Chelsea need a player in the pivot to distribute effectively, moving the ball forward at pace to allow the likes of Eden Hazard to hit teams on the counter.

Adam Lallana vs. Ramires (Premier League)
AppsGoals scoredPass completionChances createdFouls committedTackle success
Lallana31883%549247%
Ramires28183%3010439%
Squawka

Lallana's stats more than suggest he is up to task.

The 25-year-old has an impressive pass-completion rate of 83 per cent, while he commits few fouls and has created 54 chances for his team-mates this term.

In contrast to Ramires, who shares the exact pass success rate, Lallana's stats elsewhere are superior, particularly his contribution in creating scoring opportunities for his team-mates—Ramires has created just 30.

It's not just about crunching data, though. Lallana is a man who comes as the complete package.

We've seen it before with Mourinho. The Portuguese is a manager who works best with players who become stars under his guidance, bringing in players who will complement his philosophy and slot into his system.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05:  Adam Lallana of England challenges for the ball with Niki Zimling of Denmark during the International Friendly match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium on March 5, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathc
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Didier Drogba departed Chelsea in 2012 a hero. When he arrived eight years earlier, it was a different situation altogether.

The Ivorian's move to West London transformed him into the player he would become. At Marseille, he demonstrated what he was capable of, but it was the move to a club like Chelsea where he realized his true potential.

Lallana finds himself in a similar position and a move to Chelsea has all the potential of delivering the same outcome. He is young, hungry and talented—what more could any club demand from a transfer target?

Don't believe in the hype, believe in the man. Lallana would be a shrewd bit of business for Chelsea this summer.

*Stats from Squawka.com

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes

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