Adam Lallana Is Worthy Transfer Target but Liverpool Need Quality Name in Summer

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2014

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 08:  Adam Lallana of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Stoke City at St Mary's Stadium on February 8, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Liverpool's transfer activity is cranking into gear ahead of what will be a busy summer, with latest reports indicating Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana is a major target.

Martin Lipton of the Mirror suggests that the attacking midfielder is keen on a move to Anfield, even placing joining up with Brendan Rodgers' side above potential switches to Chelsea and Manchester United.

The England international has certainly shown the capacity to play at a higher level than he is playing with Saints, and he would be a good fit for Liverpool's system. But he is perhaps not the player who might make the difference in the very biggest of games, and perhaps that is what Liverpool should be looking at given the large fees involved.

SPORT #LFC Reports this morning claim Adam Lallana has his heart set on a summer move to Liverpool - He'd cost around 20 to 25 million.

— RadioCity News/Sport (@RadioCityNews) April 29, 2014


Lallana at Saints

The Saints skipper was recently named in the Premier League's team of the year, a testament to his impressive performances and consistency.

Operating from either a right-sided role or just behind the striker, Lallana's movement and technical ability on the ball make him an exciting and inventive attacking midfielder who has proved adept at helping his side break down plenty of top-flight defences over the past two seasons.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 23:  Adam Lallana of Southampton scores his team's second goal past Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton at White Hart Lane on March 23, 2014 in London,
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Lallana has created 65 chances for his team-mates this season—five assists—which is the highest in the Southampton squad.

Compared to the Liverpool team, he would be second only to Luis Suarez (85) in that regard, ahead of the likes of Philippe Coutinho (64) and Steven Gerrard (58).

His nine goals this season are also comparable to Liverpool attacking midfielder Raheem Sterling (nine), with whom he would likely face direct competition for a starting role.


Liverpool in Europe

Before accusations of "Lallana isn't an upgrade on the current players" come about, it's vital to note that Liverpool currently have no alternatives to change the team around in the final third.

The defeat to Chelsea at the weekend saw the recuperated Daniel Sturridge come off the bench, but, beyond that, a suspension to Jordan Henderson and the ineligibility of Victor Moses meant Brendan Rodgers had limited options to change the team's plan of attack.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 27: Iago Aspas of Liverpool in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 27, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Iago Aspas clearly isn't up to the mark. Moses will return to his parent club in summer, and Liverpool will face a likely fixture schedule of around 50 to 55 matches in four competitions next season. They need more players of the same level to improve the overall quality of the squad.

Face it. The Reds have been better than almost every side they've played this year.

Increasing the squad by one or two players, even at the same level as the current names, makes the team stronger as a whole. Rotating players without decreasing the ability of the side to overpower, attack and defeat teams becomes far easier, and that's better than relying on the same 12 or 13 players and then moaning about injuries, fatigue or a lack of options on the bench.

If our interest in Adam Lallana is real and we sign him up before World Cup, England's front 6 could involve 5 Liverpool players. Fantastic.

— LiverpoolFC News (@LFCTransferNRS) April 29, 2014


How Much Is Too Much?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05:  Adam Lallana of England evades Kasper Kusk of Denmark during the International Friendly match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium on March 5, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Liverpool will have money to spend this summer, but that doesn't mean they'll go wild and overpay. It might be suggested that the current board have already learned those lessons after the whole Downing-Adam-Carroll fiasco of 2011.

Still, Lallana's transfer value is subjective, and any transfer will almost certainly be based on progression, titles and appearances rather than any large up-front fee. £20 million has been quoted, as have figures £5 million higher or lower than that.

What Liverpool must ensure, though, is that along with Lallana—or whomever else comes in to provide competition—they bring in the two or three top-class players they need to sustain league challenges and top-four finishes and attack the Champions League with confidence and competence.

Lallana fits Liverpool's tactical plan in a 4-3-3 or a diamond. He fits the technical profile of playing keep-ball or looking to attack at pace, and he brings further invention, intelligence and arrogance to an already exciting front line.

The Reds just have to ensure they don't overlook possibilities of genuinely top-draw additions in the final third as they seek to complement the ones they already possess.