England boss Roy Hodgson wants Adam Lallana to finalise his club future before heading to the Brazil World Cup, perhaps speeding up his potential move to Liverpool.
The Three Lions boss, speaking after the announcement of his 23-man squad for the summer tournament, wants in-demand players to have no distractions while in South America, as reported by John Cross of the Mirror:
I was asked would you like all of this to be sorted before you go to Miami. Of course I would. It is not an ideal world and that might not happen but the one thing I am going to be very firm on.
When we are together with England that is what matters and if you have anything to resolve you do it outside that time. I am thinking about medicals in particular. I can’t stop phone calls.
Hodgson confirmed he will "definitely" ban agents from the national camp, saying players have "got to leave" if such disturbances are following them into matches with Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Southampton stars Lallana and Luke Shaw are the two individuals currently most touted for a move, with the former reportedly interesting Brendan Rodgers' Reds, while Shaw looks set for a transfer to Manchester United, per Ian Herbert and Tom Collomosse of the London Evening Standard.
Lallana has admitted he wishes to "one day play in the Champions League and compete for the Premier League title," but insists he's "not saying that this is the end" at St. Mary's, as reported by the Press Association and via ESPN FC.
Southampton's decision to sell either player, or indeed both, will leave a major void in a squad that performed admirably throughout the season. Mauricio Pochettino—whose future remains in doubt as Tottenham reportedly circle his every move, per Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail—needs to identify quality replacements who can slot straight in.
Braga midfielder Rafa Silva is allegedly being lined up to replace Lallana, as reported by Alex Crook of the Mirror. The 20-year-old flaunts an impressive passing range, intricate dribbling skills and is more than comfortable in possession, but he'll have to excel to match Lallana's influence over Pochettino's team.
The Saints captain often drives his teammates to victory, his expression on the ball and movement around the pitch remaining elusive in the process. Another signing would likely be needed alongside Silva, who may need time to adjust to the physical strains of the Premier League.
Rodgers' pursuit of Lallana makes total sense. The Northern Irish manager has installed an English heart to his Liverpool side—with key individuals such as Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling amongst the team's most important players—something Lallana can slot right into. He has the guts, technical ability and confidence to shine behind Luis Suarez and Sturridge.
It is certainly preferable for all if a deal can be sorted quickly. Hodgson won't have to worry about Lallana having his head turned, while the player can concentrate on football without the uncertainty of what waits at home. For Rodgers, a speedy deal would also allow him to crack on with other potential deals across the summer.
Both England and Lallana need to focus all of their energy on a challenging Brazil trip in the coming weeks. This can only be achieved if transfers are agreed without hassle and with haste.
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