Rarely does a transfer come along which is so unexpected and yet seems such an obvious fit.
The two clubs are discussing a move for the 32-year-old England striker which seems likely to take him from the South Coast back to his native Merseyside.
But if you think about it logically for a minute, then it seems a very good move for Lambert and Liverpool—even if everyone seems to be deserting Southampton.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers clearly wants to bring in a big striker to give them a different option up front, someone who can be direct and yet is also good technically.
We’re not suggesting he’s about to start ahead of Daniel Sturridge or Luis Suarez, but any decent squad has to have depth as well as quality.
A top-class squad should also have different variations, players who can enable the team to play a different formation, switch to different tactics and make an impact from the bench.
Furthermore, Liverpool will be in Europe next season and no-one should underestimate the effect playing in the Champions League can have.
Liverpool didn’t have that distraction this season. Jose Mourinho even joked that, as a result, Liverpool were, "on holidays"—as per the Daily Mail.
Hardly. But playing one game a week means fewer injuries, less fatigue and you don’t need such a big squad. Next season, they will need more players to really go for it on four fronts—in the title race, Europe and two domestic trophies.
That’s why they are really going for it this summer. There will be many more deals, and yet the most romantic one will surely be Lambert.
Lambert was born and brought up on Merseyside, joined Liverpool at 10 and yet was released as a teenager.
He then knocked around the lower leagues, scoring goals on a regular and prolific basis. Yet those humble beginnings—including a stint working in a beetroot factory—have always ensured that he’s remained grounded.
Lambert finally got his break with Southampton, scoring the goals to propel them and him into the Premier League. The mark of his quality was then proved as he continued to shine in the Premier League, scoring goals, laying on chances for team-mates and also hitting the odd spectacular free kick.
Lambert is also a brilliant penalty-taker, never having missed from the spot while at Southampton.
He finally got his England call-up and is now in the World Cup squad—and on the brink of a move to his boyhood heroes.
|Rickie Lambert Southampton Stats|
|2013-14 (Premier League)||37 (6)||13||10|
|2012-13 (Premier League)||38 (3)||15||5|
|2010-11 (League One)||45||21||11|
|2009-10 (League One)||45 (1)||30||12|
This is real Roy of the Rovers stuff, and if you ever meet Lambert, then you’d be chuffed for him as well. He’s personable, down to earth and a genuine nice fella.
His career has come together late on, and yet now, on the verge of joining Liverpool, he is making up for lost time.
Intriguingly, Liverpool could end up with three Southampton players this summer as they also want Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana.
Lovren, the centre-half, could cost a lot of money, around £15 million-plus. And as for Lallana, that is far from being done despite the Southampton captain wanting to go to Liverpool. Southampton want £30 million for Lallana to help offset the cost of a sell-on clause to his former club Bournemouth.
That’s a big price to pay and Liverpool don’t want to go much over £20 million which leaves them at a stand-off.
But Liverpool have clearly recognised the pool of talent at St. Mary’s and want to seize their opportunity following Mauricio Pochettino’s departure.
That’s why Liverpool’s swiftness and canny move for Lambert looks to be good business. He’s a good character, he can provide back-up for Sturridge and Suarez and also provides a different option.
And when you bear in mind that the fee could be as low as £4 million with add-ons, that is a real bargain.
Strikers will always be in demand, and if, despite his age, Lambert can give them two good years, then it will be an inspirational signing. And one to fulfil every boyhood dream.