With the, apparently inevitable, departure of Mauricio Pochettino to Tottenham Hotspurs after just one successful season at Southampton, the papers are full of speculation today. The 42 year-old Argentinian will try to tempt Liverpool’s prime target Adam Lallana to White Hart Lane. This has been described as a “huge blow” and a “Snub”, for Liverpool. But if you look further at the situation is it really that big a deal for Brendan Rodgers?
It’s my personal opinion that if a deal was going to be done, it would have been done so already. At least a firm handshake accord reached with all parties. If this is the case, then this current round of speculation is the usual unsubstantiated ‘paper talk’ based on foundations as firm as a chocolate fireguard. It’s also very likely that the player has made his mind up by this stage. Lallana is currently preparing to travel to Brazil with the rest of the England squad, having spent the last week or so training in Portugal. A group that contains no fewer than five Liverpool players. Unsurprisingly, that’s five more than one can count from Spurs. You’d have to be a dead man not to realise that Footballers, like any other people, in any other profession, in any other walk of life, will discuss these things among themselves. “I hear that x is going to y, what do you reckon…?”. “So-and-so told me that b wants to go to c…” etc etc. Algebra apart, you can see what I’m getting at. The technical term, I believe is a verb: To Gossip. Lallana and two thirds of the England squad already know where he’s going.
Lallana is a good player. He’s industrous and inventive. Skillful and versatile. This type of player can only help Rodgers to improve the Liverpool squad. Without doubt. He’d be a good addition to any in the Premiership. His goals return, passing, and chance creation stats are all pretty impressive (nine goals, 85% and 68 chances respectively across the 38 Premiership games). But then, so what if he does go to Spurs?
Well, this would be his loss. Not Liverpool’s. If a player is openly claiming he wants to play “at the highest level” and then chooses not to do so then he cleary doesn’t have the courage or ambition that a top player needs to have. The courage or ambition a Liverpool FC player needs to have. Ask yourselves: Is this character really what Brendan Rodgers should be spending the club’s money on? Is this the kind of player that truely wants to don the red shirt of Liverpool. In my opinion, I’d say not.
Should Pochettino succed in taking Lallana, then he’s done Liverpool a huge favour, and put yet another nail in the coffin of Tottenham Hotspurs FC at the same time. And, you know what? I’m not arsed, frankly. Good luck to them. Totenham are a club that have shown over the years how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. How to take one step forward and two huge stumbles backward. How to royally shoot themselves in the foot when what they sould be doing is showing some faith in the managers they recruit and their long term view if they really have one. If I were asked who out of Rodgers and Pochettino is in the safest job, and who has the biggest chance of seeing out their contracts – not to mention achieving success, I’d be showing the effects of a fair few gin and tonics, glasses of rouge and more than a pint or two of Worthingtons if I ever said the latter.
Simply because furthermore, there are other options available that could and probably would offer better value for money. The much vaunted Emre Can of Bayer Leverkusen for a start would provide very good alternative and, at around £10m, would put a smile on thee face of Chief Financial Officer, Andy Hughes to-boot. There is also talk of Barcelona’s 26 year-old Pedro Rodriguez who would make a superb addition to the club. Cesc Fabregas, Javier Mascherano. All viable alternatives who, with the exception of Fabregas would likely be avaiable for less than the reported £25m quoted for Lallana.
If Lallana chooses Tottenham over Liverpool then it certainly won’t be the end of the world. However, havng said that, I don’t believe he will. I’d say only 5% of the transfer market is played out in the press, and of that half of it is contrived for one reason or another. Liverpool should complete the transfer of Lallana which will undoubtedly improve the squad. The ex-saint, along with three or four other quality signings should see Brendan Rodgers’ side be competitive next season. Lallana has already stated his intention to join the Reds, so I suspect this is simply noise from the edges and a futile attempt by Pochettino to upset the proverbial applecart following his appointment. Still, if you can make an entrance, why not make a big one.
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