The striker speaks out.
There were strong rumours during the recent January transfer window that Rickie Lambert would be leaving for Aston Villa, just six months after joining the club.
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In the end a move did not materialise, but Lambert says that it was in fact close and has also revealed the reasons about why he chose to stay at Liverpool.
“I got a phone call from the gaffer saying Aston Villa had come in,” the 33-year-old told the club’s website.
“He said he didn’t want me to go. He basically offered me the chance if I wanted to play football, which is fair enough.
“The phone call was about four o’clock on that day. I spoke to my agent, I spoke to my wife, spoke to Aston Villa and it was close.
“But it was something I just couldn’t do. It was too short notice. I’m at Liverpool and I didn’t want to leave after six months. That’s something I might have looked back on when I’d retired and regretted more than anything really.
“In the end, it came down to the amount of time I had to think about it and the thought of leaving Liverpool after six months.”
Lambert has hardly been a rousing success since arriving from Southampton last summer for £4.5m and it sounds like the striker has more affection for the club than we have for him currently.
The England international’s failings have been highlighted more than perhaps would have been the case because of no one else playing well in attack for much of the season.
However, the return of Daniel Sturridge has also appeared to have reinvigorated Mario Balotelli and if the two can strike up a partnership then Lambert’s first team opportunities could be even more limited.
Maybe Villa wouldn’t have been such a bad option.