By my understanding, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is still keen to push ahead with plans to sign Southampton captain Adam Lallana this summer, however, last season's Premier League runner-up would be far better served switching their focus to Real Sociedad forward Antoine Griezmann instead.
The Reds had initially hoped to be able to tie up a £20 million deal for Lallana before the start of this month's World Cup, only for the Saints to then play hardball in the negotiations for their star man.
And that has put the transfer on hold for now after Liverpool, according to Andy Hunter of The Guardian, lodged a final take-it-or-leave-it offer worth a staggering £25 million for the wide man at the end of May, with the Saints though understood to still be demanding a fee of £30 million for Lallana.
However, with Tottenham Hotspur having also now joined the race for Lallana, following the recent appointment of former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino at White Hart Lane, reports Dominic Fifield of The Guardian, Rodgers could even end up missing out on his No. 1 transfer target for next season.
The Northern Irishman is said to be desperate to lure Lallana, 26, to Anfield this summer in order to increase the midfield options at his disposal going forward on Merseyside, especially given that Liverpool will be competing in the UEFA Champions League in the upcoming campaign.
And with the England international, who is currently out in Brazil with his country, having shone on the south coast last time out in an attacking midfield role, mainly stationed on the left, but with the flexibility and tactical intelligence to be able to operate in a number of different positions across the forward line too, Rodgers envisages the winger having a key role to play for Liverpool next season and beyond.
But do 10 goals and eight assists in 42 matches in all competitions, all but one of which came in Lallana's 38 Premier League contests for Southampton, justify lavishing £30 million on a player with just two top-flight campaigns behind him and a handful of England caps to his name after making his international bow against Chile only last November?
Especially when arguably there are better, younger and more importantly cheaper alternatives currently on the market. None more so than France winger Griezmann, who is also on show at Brazil 2014 this summer.
The 23-year-old has just enjoyed his best-ever season for Sociedad since first breaking into the Basque outfit's first team five years ago, with Griezmann one of the undoubted stars of La Liga in the previous campaign.
In fact, so impressive was the forward in recording 20 goals and five assists in 50 encounters for his club, that the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, as well as Liverpool themselves, are all believed to be interested in signing the youngster this summer, according to Nick Lustig of the Daily Star.
However, if Griezmann produces many more eye-catching performances for Les Bleus like he did against Honduras on Sunday, when the midfielder hit both the bar with a header and created numerous other openings for team-mates, then the chase for his signature will really begin to hot up.
Which is why Rodgers and Reds managing director Ian Ayre should act fast by ending their long-running pursuit of the overpriced Lallana, who did not even start the Three Lions' opening World Cup loss to Italy on Saturday. Instead, they should focus all their energies on persuading Griezmann to make the move to Merseyside.
With Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay recently claiming in the Star that his club had not received any "concrete" offers as of yet for their prize asset, the Reds now have a great opportunity to steal a march on their rivals by meeting the Liga side's £25 million asking price for Griezmann.
And with the Anoeta outfit also reportedly keen to raise funds themselves this summer by offloading their French star, Rodgers and the much-publicised Liverpool transfer committee should waste little time in trying to push through a deal at that price for a wide man with both UEFA Champions League and international experience, as well as the speed, skills and most importantly goals and assists in his locker.
Not only that, but Griezmann would be able to offer the Reds a great deal of key tactical versatility as well due to the attacker's ability to play in any position across the front line, including as a striker, too.
And with France coach Didier Deschamps showing a huge amount of confidence in Griezmann by handing him the responsibility of replacing injured playmaker Franck Ribery in the starting lineup for the World Cup, Rodgers and Co. should need no more encouragement in following up on their initial interest, via Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, in the one-time star of Sociedad's youth system by making his employers an offer they cannot refuse come the end of the tournament.
Stats via Transfermarkt unless otherwise noted.
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