There's More to Liverpool's Lambert Move Than an Honest Interest in the Striker

Jerrad PetersWorld Football Staff WriterMay 29, 2014

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Rickie Lambert (L) of Southampton celebrates with team mate Adam Lallana (R) after scoring during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium on May 11, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Liverpool are reportedly close to signing Southampton striker Rickie Lambert.

According to Sky Sports, the Reds will pay between £8 million and £10 million for the England international, and betting on the transfer was suspended Wednesday night.

But given the seasons enjoyed by current attackers Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, it’s likely the Anfield outfit has an ulterior motive as far as Lambert is concerned.

Granted, they may simply value the veteran’s ability. Back in September Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers referred to him as a “terrific player,” as per The Guardian.

Still, at 32-years of age, Lambert is unlikely to much improve on the 13 and 15 Premier League goals he managed this season and last, which is why there might be more to the transaction than an honest interest in the player.

Liverpool’s primary summer transfer target is thought to be Adam Lallana, also of Southampton, and the Daily Star has reported the Reds would be willing to pay £25 million for his services.

Adam Lallana is the Reds' primary transfer target.
Adam Lallana is the Reds' primary transfer target.Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Complicating matters, however, is the sell-on clause possessed by the 26-year-old’s former club, Bournemouth, at which he came through as a youngster and then represented on loan in 2007.

It’s possible—and this is purely speculation—that Liverpool could be sweetening the pot for Southampton regarding Lallana by not only acquiring Lambert, but also paying above market value for him.

Then there’s the possibility that Rodgers, perhaps anticipating Suarez’ exit, has moved quickly to bring in one of the many players he’d need to acquire in order to sufficiently replace the reigning PFA and FWA Player of the Year. Eurosport claims Real Madrid have renewed their interest in the Uruguayan.

Or Rodgers might merely be thinking ahead to the 2014-15 season, which will see the Reds back in the Champions League and requiring additional depth in most positions.

Lambert, in that instance, would be very much a squad player, although the fees being reported would seem to suggest there’s more to it than that.

If this transfer rumour sounds puzzling, it’s because it is. Liverpool have something up their sleeve.