The rumour mill has currently gone into overdrive regarding Liverpool’s “successful” £20m bid for Southampton’s Captain, Adam Lallana. The 26-year old attacking midfielder, who has worked his way up through the ranks of the Saint’s academy since the tender age of 12, has been selected by Roy Hodgson for England’s World Cup 2014 squad. This season Lallana was shortlisted for PFA Player of the Year award as well as being named in the PFA Team of the Year. With 9 goals and 6 assists in 36 games this season he’s surpassed Santi Cazorla’s achievements. On paper, as well as on the pitch, Lallana’s got everything that Arsene Wenger would be, and should be, looking for to strengthen Arsenal’s squad in readiness for the 2014/15 season.
So why should Arsenal compete with Liverpool for Lallana when we already have a seemingly strong midfield team? You can quite rightly argue that one of the reasons Arsenal have landed fourth place (again) this season is due to the majority of our midfielders being sidelined through injury. Mesut Özil, our £42m star signing, hasn’t amounted to all the hype he arrived with. Yes, he may have excellent ball control and a powerful shot but he’s not turned out to be the goal-scorer (or maker) we’d all hoped for. Despite being six months younger than Lallana he doesn’t seem to have the physical stamina required to consistently finish the job.
Imagine Adam Lallana linking up with Jack Wilshire, Aaron Ramsey or Theo Walcott and, not forgetting of course, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. That is, when they’re all back to full fitness. We saw what damage Lallana can do in our 2-2 standoff with Southampton at St Mary’s back in January. The chant “He plays on the left, he play’s on the right, Adam Lallana makes Messi look shite!” shows his versatility and, if that’s not enough, he can also play behind the centre forward. Lallana’s got great pace, vision and technique. We already know he looks good in red, plus he’s got a haircut to rival that of Olivier Giroud.
However, the question of Lallana joining Arsenal is likely to be a rhetorical one. Despite interest from other clubs, including Manchester United earlier in the season, it would appear that Lallana is destined to end up gracing the pitch at Anfield. In the words of Stevie Wonder’s song it looks like this deal is all but “signed, sealed and delivered, I’m yours”. Except, in all likeliness, he’s not ours, he’s theirs.
Photo via Jon Candy