Adam Lallana prefers a move to Liverpool over Manchester United or Chelsea, opening the way to a huge summer transfer, according to reports.
The classy Southampton captain, who is set to be the subject of a summer tussle between the Premier League's top sides, will link up with Brendan Rodgers' high-flying Reds if given the opportunity to do so, as revealed by Martin Lipton of the Mirror:
The England midfielder – a boyhood Everton fan – has his heart set on a move to Anfield.
Chelsea and Manchester United have both targeted Lallana but the player is intent on a move to Merseyside, as Brendan Rodgers looks to add to his title challenging squad.
While Lipton acknowledges Lallana "has said nothing publicly about his intentions," he suggests a four-year deal worth in the region of £70,000 per week would be enough to secure his services if £20 million is offered.
Lallana, much like many at St. Mary's, has enjoyed a fantastic season under Mauricio Pochettino. The 25-year-old has proven himself to be a technically gifted and highly creative midfielder at the top level, skippering Saints to an impressive eighth position.
He has scored nine and assisted six goals this campaign, per WhoScored.com. Unlike many English players, Lallana is extremely comfortable on the ball and can use both feet to dribble beyond his opponents, skip away from a challenge or turn quickly to free up some space.
Brendan Rodgers may also be attracted to his versatility. Pochettino has deployed the intelligent player across the attacking midfield line and even out wide on occasion, as Lallana provides vital support to strikers Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez. Like his two colleagues and left-back Luke Shaw, his consistent displays have been rewarded with a call into Roy Hodgson's England setup.
Which club would be the best fit for Adam Lallana?
Lallana's ball retention skills and willingness to bring others into play would slot straight in at Liverpool. Rodgers' team are drilled to quickly pass and move, with individuals such as Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho dictating the pace of attacks behind Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
Lallana is more than capable of dominating in a similar fashion and has the quality to perform excellently in the Champions League. His potential exit may be sped up if Pochettino leaves, as the Argentinian has reportedly caught the interest of Tottenham, as reported by John Cross of the Mirror:
"Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino has emerged as Tottenham’s No.1 managerial target, wrote Cross. "Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has identified him as the ideal successor to Tim Sherwood."
It seems the exit of Lallana and Pochettino will be linked. If Saints decide to cash in on their stars, the ambitious manager is likely to call time on his stint on the south coast.
Whether Liverpool, United or Chelsea wish to pursue Lallana, they should do so before the World Cup. An excellent showing in Brazil could see the playmaker's value rocket and raise the interest of clubs on the continent, as Lallana is more than suited to plying his trade away from the Premier League.
Southampton fans will fear a mass exodus of talent if Lallana leaves, as the academy graduate's decision to call time on a 13-year association with the club could signal the start of a regressive era for the side.