Updated: Dec 27, 2018
This summer we seen a wholesale change of approach from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Investing in and around 94 million on two central midfielders to add depth and quality to this problem position was seemingly needed by the club, however one man that has had his struggles in the last eighteen months on Merseyside is former Southampton wide-man Adam Lallana.
The energetic Lallana played an instrumental role in Klopp’s first two seasons at Anfield, showing his lead by being the high press midfielder, pushing the Liverpool team further up the pitch and his tenaciousness to turn over possession in higher positions. This set the tone really for how we expected this Liverpool team to play, a characteristic that so far during this current season we have not seen enough of from the current squad and certainly from the midfield three.
Investing in Naby Keita has been a success thus far, he has seamlessly slotted into the heart of the Liverpool midfield, however the former Monaco man Fabinho has found life at Anfield harder to adapt to.
hen the three options who were already at the club, Jordan Henderson who will always have his doubters, and the two consistent performers of James Milner and Georgio Wijnaldum, it must be said that to see Lallana breaking back into the team in this role looks highly unlikely at this point of his Liverpool career. Long term injury sufferer Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain would almost certainly be ahead of fellow countryman Lallana when he returns and there is a preference to play Xherdan Shaqiri just ahead of a midfield two partnership rather than play Lallana.
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The former Southampton captain has certainly suffered during his time in the last year at Anfield, but despite only 16 appearances last season in which only included 3 starts, he was still on the reserve list for the England squad for the summer World Cup squad. This is an indicator of just how highly he is regarded within the set-up still. A move away at this point of his career would be the smartest decision Lallana could make.
At the age of 30, and with his football intelligence the former Bournemouth trainee has an opportunity to really cement a first team role elsewhere and give himself every opportunity to regain a place in this current England squad, which despite the average age of the squad coming down, it is easy to see a role for Lallana still within the current group.
His experience and accolades would certainly help him with potential suitors, he is a runner-up in both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League as well as a runner up for the EFL Cup, when we consider he was the England National Teams player of the year back in 2016, it has to be considered that Lallana could still operate a top level for another few years given his current age and his injury history. His 143 appearances playing for club of Liverpool’s stature would certainly be a promising benefactor for a club looking to acquire the English attacking midfielder.
Where does Lallana go after Liverpool? A move abroad would look highly unlikely. perhaps a move to Serie A should anyone show an interest, most likely though a move to a Premier League club would be on the cards.
5. Crystal Palace.
This January could be a vital month in how this season works out for Crystal Palace. They certainly need to address the lack of threat they have in the final third of the pitch, and this could include potentially trying to link up Adam Lallana with his former National Team Manager.
Lallana really thrived in the Three Lions shirt while under the management of Roy Hodgson, usually playing the inside left role allowed Lallana the opportunity to play in dangerous areas of the pitch, coming of his flank and getting involved in between the lines of midfield and attack. This would be the perfect investment that Hodgson would need with his current team as they just do not look threatening enough.
A move to London would have to be an attractive proposition for Lallana and despite playing for Liverpool who have operated in the top region of the Premier League table, this challenge would be one that he could really thrive upon. Having the talents of Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha in an attacking line up would be a handful alongside Lallana, the energy and movement would be hard for most teams to cope against. Hodgson knows Lallana well, and even playing centrally would be an option should Palace show a strong interest. This is a role where from watching Lallana, his pressing is top class but his positioning gets lost somewhat and that high energy style might not be the best role for him at this point of his career.
The groin and hamstring injuries that have hampered Lallana in recent times at Anfield would potentially make the England midfielder have to change his role in a certain way, perhaps relying more on his football brain rather than his high press nature. A fee for Lallana would not be extortionate come January, with his contract up in the summer of 2020, a 20 million fee would certainly for a reasonable figure for both Liverpool and Palace.
Another club hoping that January will be a crucial and active month will be Newcastle United. Current boss Rafa Benitez has done a fine job with what he has had to work with at St James Park but despite having a hard working group of players, they need extra quality in the final third of the pitch.
The system that Benitez has played is with Ayoze Perez operating in a number 10 role behind an out and out number 9 striker, but getting consistency from the Spaniard has been somewhat of an issue. This role would be the perfect platform for an Adam Lallana, playing in between the lines, drifting to wide positions to open up space for the likes of Kennedy and Matty Ritchie to drift inside, and to drop in and use his experience in certain games to make up a three man midfield.
The Newcastle faithful are known to be passionate and adoring fans, and with a signing of a player like Lallana they would certainly feel lifted with his presence. His intelligence and link with Shelvey could be a great platform for the club to build upon and cement their place in the Premier League. The former England would certainly be that player who could lift The Magpies and really propel them up the table, come the end of the season.
The big issue for Newcastle and for Rafa Benitez is whether current chairman is going to loosen the purse strings and give the popular manager the opportunity to strengthen come January. If he does open up some funds a move to bring Lallana to St James Park could potentially be a great move for both the club and the player.
3. West Ham.
West Ham have had a mixed start under the leadership of current manager Manuel Pellegrini. They have been inconsistent in their performances and have lacked a real danger when it comes to the final third of the pitch. Losing Ukrainian Andriy Yarmolenko has been tough on the Hammers, who had lost an extra dimension in an attacking threat. With doubts over the future of the club’s main man Marko Arnautovic after international duty for Austria, there might just be a sense of panic among the West Ham supporters.
The January transfer window will be be another opportunity for the club to invest some more money and try and secure a place within the Premier League, while finishing as high as possible within the league, and should the club lose Arnautovic, they will need to find a suitable replacement in a creative sense: Adam Lallana.
The Liverpool attacking midfielder would offer Pellegrini and the West Ham system a lot of chances to adapt and show versatility, especially alongside the talented Felipe Andersen. Although not a like for like replacement in terms of leading the line for the team Lallana would almost certainly become a central figure for the team, allowing them to transition better from defense to attack. His role at the team would almost certainly look to be in an inside forward capacity, playing of either flank, but coming centrally to hurt teams.
Lallana would be a top signing for the London club, and as mentioned with Crystal Palace, the opportunity to play first team football in London would have to be an attractive prospect for Lallana. Whether Arnautovic leaves the London stadium could determine if Pellegrini has funds available come January to improve his squad. The hope must certainly be that the strong Austrian remains at the club and he can link Lallana into a front three alongside the former Inter Milan front-man and the Brazilian Felipe Andersen.
This could be considered somewhat of a controversial move if Lallana was to switch Anfield for Tottenham, but one that could have both positive ramifications for both club and player. After Tottenham appointed Pochettino as their manager taking him from Southampton, they had a very strong interest in bringing Lallana to White Hart Lane at the time.
The former Southampton captain worked with Pochettino during his time at the St Mary’s stadium and actually played the best football of his career under the guidance of the Argentine manager. When looking at the current Tottenham squad it may look like regular first team football would be hard to come for the attacker, however with consistent stories coming out about the future of world class play-maker Christian Eriksen, there may just be a void left in this Tottenham team.
Lallana would offer this Tottenham team much needed quality in depth and his ability to operate wide, and centrally would almost certainly give current manager Mauricio Pochettino options with the versatility of some of his other attacking options, such as Lucas Moura, Eric Lamela and Son Heung-min. At the age of 30 this would be a signing not so much associated with this Tottenham team in recent years, but Pochettino would have the knowledge of what the English play-maker could offer his current group.
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Building the core of English players and the understanding that is among them would be another factor as to how it may be possible to see Lallana lining up alongside Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier and Harry Winks at a club level.
Tottenham and Daniel Levy are known for transfer dealings in the January window, and with no in-comings during the recent summer window, this might be an opportunity for Levy to put things right, after the scrutiny the club has came under from certain quarters after what was a very quiet summer in North London. Although perhaps not the obvious move next for Lallana, the future of Christian Eriksen could potentially be a factor in a potential pursuit of the player by Tottenham Hotspurs.
They say never go back in football, but this is a potential move that would be a great fit for both club and player. Adam Lallana spent 8 years at St Mary’s moving up through the leagues with his boyhood club before moving to Anfield. The former captain would certainly be a welcomed figure back at the struggling Saints, as they need some inspiration to get their status in the Premier League secured.
Last season seen the club almost slip back out of the Premier League and so far this season it looks like the club could go through the same struggles. Come January it is hard to actually expect current manager Mark Hughes to still be at the club, as he has had very little impact since his arrival, despite just about keeping the club during the back end of last season.
Lallana would be a perfect addition to this team, his energy would be infectious for the group of players around him, his experience of being at the club previously would be a great insight for many of the players who look to be seriously struggling to show a spirit to play at their very best for the team. His ability to play in between the lines of midfield and attack would certainly help the front men, Danny Ings and Charlie Austin, providing them with more chances to score the vital goals.
Playing as an inside winger might get the best out of a below par Ryan Bertrand, who would be able to show his attacking threat again, Nathan Redmond who could stretch the pitch form the other side, and generally open up the pitch in a more dangerous way in the final third for the team.
Without question Southampton will have work to do in January, the price that Lallana would generate should be very generous for the ability that he has and could provide the team. This move should be one that is touted around before the re-opening of the window in January. Who is in charge of the club however might be the only drawback to this potential move.
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