Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has close to £50 million to spend on his roster this summer, and he looks determined to make a big splash as his club returns to the UEFA Champions League next season. Plenty of big names have been thrown around, including Bayern Munich star Xherdan Shaqiri and Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony.
Rodgers has made his fondness for Southampton skipper Adam Lallana known and has made it known that he won’t be put off by his £20 million price tag, according to Alex Richards of the Mirror.
The 26-year-old midfielder was a huge part of Southampton’s success this season, and he would fit well in a supporting role behind the likes of Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. He scored nine goals and registered six assists for the Saints last season—two numbers that are almost certain to rise if he were to join the Reds’ blistering attack.
Andy Hunter of The Guardian outlines why Rodgers is keen on adding to an attack that was devastating last season:
The interest in Lallana demonstrates the manager is also intent on enhancing the attacking threat of a team that scored 101 league goals last season. Real Madrid continue to be linked with a bid for Luis Suárez, as occurred last summer when no offer materialized from the Spanish club, but the striker's declared reason for wanting to leave last year—no Champions League football—has been satisfied at Anfield.
It’s unclear what Suarez’s status is with the club—and how serious Madrid are about luring him away from the EPL—but bolstering the attack is a wise move in the event that the Reds have to face life without their superstar striker, and Lallana would be a great two-way addition.
In addition to Lallana, Rodgers is now very interested in fortifying the defense with center back Dejan Lovren—also from Southampton.
The Croatian international made his debut in the Premier League last season and assuaged any concerns about his ability to handle the physicality of the EPL. Lovren can be the leader that the Liverpool defense desperately needs, and he would definitely solidify the Reds back line.
There are other targets that Rodgers has an eye for, but his primary focus will be on the Southampton duo. He explained why and his general transfer philosophy to Andy Hunter of The Guardian:
I don’t want to put a figure on how many, but I would rather have one or two absolute top players than seven that might not help us. It’s about the quality. We can’t be going into the Champions League this year with doubts about players. We have to be going in knowing what the players’ capacity to play is and their capabilities.
There are plenty of other players on Rodgers’ wish list, but it seems clear that the Southampton pair are his preferred targets—and for good reason. Both players have plenty of great football left and would be tremendous additions to the club.