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Rickie Lambert - Are you on board with it?


The Reds have been linked with all manner of players so far this summer, but no-one seemed to have a clue that Southampton's Scouse striker Rickie Lambert was on Brendan Rodgers' shopping list. A deal for the 32 year old is said to be close, with some reports suggesting he'll have a medical following England's friendly on Friday night. Smart move or underwhelming? Three TLW writers give their verdict...

On the face of it and in the context of our transfer deals of recent windows, the apparently imminent signing of Rickie Lambert from Southampton for a fee variously quoted as between £4m and £9m seems laughably typical of the succession of unsuccessful deals negotiated by the much-criticised transfer committee. A 32 year old who's played his entire career at mid table or worse is hardly the kind of signing to get the pulse racing.

And yet. And yet. I've never been one to second guess potential signings before they've shown what they can do in a Red shirt (at least not in the negative; I'm often all in on the premature "He'll be boss for us" shout). Our history is littered with signings that leave you underwhelmed but turn out to be good (Sami Hyypia, Gary Mac and more) or players who're touted as being ace but fall flat rapidly (Morientes, Cheyrou, Diouf and others besides). So I generally lean towards the optimistic, but wait and see camp.

In terms of Lambert though, I think he could be a very crafty transfer for a number of reasons. First of all - and most definitely not to be sniffed at - he's a Scouser and a Red. When it's obvious that he will not be first choice, motivation other than playing every week will be important.

Another reason I like the thinking behind this deal is that he's used to playing in a team that has many parallels with ours in the way they play. They're a front foot side where there's an expectation that they close down hard from the forward line backwards. Furthermore, he could offer us an element of a Plan B (holding up the ball and/or retaining possession) without having to completely ditch Plan A to do so. A Peter Crouch option if you like - and much like Peter Crouch, he's better than people give him credit for. He's got a good touch and pass on him and his movement is clever.

So far, so good - but what about the fee? £9m or even £4m plus add ons still seems excessive for a player of his age and pedigree. However, just maybe this deal bears the first signs of an improved degree of canniness on the part of that committee. We keep hearing that Adam Lallana is going to cost £30m because his previous club are due a 25% slice of any sell on fee. However, maybe we're going heavy on Lambert to appear to go light on Lallana. We get two players we want for a reasonable combined fee that suits Southampton too as they don't have to pass on as much as they thought for a player who wants out anyway.

So in conclusion, I'll judge this deal after it's completed and the player has shown what he can do for us, but I think it has the potential to be a very clever piece of business. Let's hope so because we all know that this summer is absolutely vital for us if we're going to go one step further next season and bring back number nineteen.
 


Paul Natton

 

 

 

I don’t think anyone saw this one coming, but after the initial shock wore off I was more than happy with the idea. I like Rickie Lambert, not only is he a good Red but he’s an impressive footballer. He’s done it the hard way too, spending most of his career in the lower leagues before hitting the big time when Southampton were promoted to the Premier League two years ago.
 
I didn’t expect him to do much in the top flight but he has looked at home from day one and I’ve been impressed any time I’ve seen him play. I remember writing last season that Lambert is basically a modern day John Aldridge, the main difference being he’s playing in an era in which the top sides don’t buy players like him because they can go out and pick up some foreign superstar. When Aldo was picked up by Liverpool to replace Ian Rush there were hardly any foreign players in the league and the top sides would often look to the lower leagues or smaller top flight clubs for players. If Aldo had been playing 25 years later chances are he’d never have got his dream move to Liverpool and that’s how I felt about Lambert.
 
Looks like I was wrong about that, if this one goes through it will be fantastic for Rickie as he had surely given up on any hope he had of pulling on the red shirt and scoring in front of the Kop. He’d bring a lot to the table in my opinion; he’s a fine footballer who creates as many goals as he scores. He’s clever, very unselfish and offers something different. His love the club can't be underplayed either, as there aren't any other players of his ability who would be prepared to be a squad player. He'll do it because it's a dream come true to play for the Reds.
 
It’s perhaps somewhat disrespectful to refer to him as a ‘Plan B’ as he’s much better than that, but put it this way: Against Chelsea we had to send on Iago Aspas to try and get back into the game. Perhaps if we had Lambert to call on we’d have gotten something that day?
 
If this goes through I hope it doesn’t spell the end for Fabio Borini, as with all the games we’ll have next season we may well need four strikers, especially as we have no idea how much the World Cup will take out of Sturridge, Suarez and Sterling. 
 
I also can’t shake the feeling that this deal might be linked to the Lallana one. Southampton don’t want to give Bournemouth 25% of a huge fee, which may explain why we’ve been linked with Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne in recent weeks too. Maybe I’ve just got a suspicious mind, but modern football is rotten to it’s core and nothing would surprise me.
 


Dave Usher

 

 

 

Talk about a bolt from the blue. Who saw this coming? I bet Rickie Lambert in his wildest dreams didn’t think that he’d get the chance to play for his boyhood club. I think we can all guess that Brendan got the Southampton season review DVD for his birthday as the club continues to plunder their brightest and best.

 

In a way I feel sorry for Southampton, what we’re seeing here is the worst side of football. They got promoted with a team built upon second chancers and academy graduates, and gained a prominent foothold in the top flight. Now they’re finding that success comes with a very high price. They lost their Chief Executive in something approaching a power struggle, they’ve lost their manager to the revolving door at White Hart Lane and they look like they’re losing the core of their team. Good luck next year, Southampton; thanks for coming.

 

But as for Liverpool, this is a very shrewd signing. The fee has to be right and if it’s around the £4-5million mark then that’s peanuts in today’s market. It seems that Lambert’s availability came up in discussions over Lallana (and possibly Lovren) so perhaps Southampton asked if we were interested in these fine leather jackets too.

 

Lambert’s signing isn’t a marquee signing, it’s very much about squad building. If you work on the assumption that Suarez and Sturridge are going to be the main men, you need people backing them up to provide rest, an alternative and cover for injury. If those two players are Lambert and Borini, then I think that’s a good set of players with a decent range of ability that provides a degree of flexibility for various scenarios.

 

Certainly when you compare Lambert with the player who’s already here (Aspas) then there’s no contest. Aspas was shown to be unable to cope with demands of the league and during the run-in, his only use was keeping a seat warm. Lambert is an immediate upgrade on him and that’s what the goal is during this summer, which is building a squad and team that can push on into the Champions League and still maintain a league challenge. Lambert is used to the more robust nature of the league, he’s proven he can score and make goals at this level and he’s a different type of player to the other strikers.

 

This is a real feel good story and it’s a piece of business that makes plenty of sense. That Lambert absolutely loves the club makes it a little bit sweeter for me. I love seeing players who have that connection with the club in the team. My only worry is that last summer we got the minor signings done early and then we waited… and waited… and waited for the big impact signings to happen, and nothing happened. Rickie Lambert would be a good addition to the squad but it’s the first team that needs upgrading too. This would be a good start to the summer’s activity but let’s hope that we don’t repeat the mistakes of last year and dither on the big signings until it’s too late. Eyes on the prize, transfer committee.

 
Julian Richards

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311 Comments

Yes massively on board with this. Great lad, good player, loves the club. Ace.
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Big yes from me. Good player
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No matter how poorly Suarez and Sturridge are playing, I'd never want him subbed on for either.  Someone like Remy would have been a much better signing.

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Roy Evans should never have released him in the first place...
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I like him, both in his attributes as a player and his attitude. He's not exactly quick but his link up play is underrated.

We won't have to pay him a hefty wedge to swallow his pride and accept being a squad player as we'd likely have to do with the likes of Remy.

When we've blitzed our way to an early lead, Sturridge's leg is hanging off, or Suarez looks like chinning a ref I'd be more than happy to see Lambert coming on.

Third choice strikers are never better than the players they fill in for, but they should at least have the potential to offer something different. He's not just a big lump of a target man, but it'd be nice to be a danger from set plays again without the opposition having to only worry about Skrtel.

In short, I'm on board.
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It makes perfect sense. We need experienced cover in that position and he fits the bill.
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Can't get my head round what Rodgers idea is. I went into the summer thinking this is our chance to cherry pick the best up and coming talent around which would really get the club moving in European competition again.
And here we are handing Southampton possibly £40m plus for an over the hill striker and two flavour of 2013/14 premier league players in Lallana and Lovren.
Lambert has got qualities however he's miles away from the sort of backup to Suarez and Sturridge I thought we'd be going for. The only way it'd make a bit of sense in buying him would be if we're getting rid of Borini, Lambert is coming as fourth choice striker and there's another player closer talent wise to the first choice pair yet to come in.
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Good signing for Hull.
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Completely and utterly flies in the face of Rodgers comments staunchly promising that the summer transfers were going to be purely targeting first team players, and that it would be preferable to bring in 2 or 3 top class players as opposed to 4 or 5 squad types.

 

The only thing this will do is sadle the club with a player on wages, however modest that will not increase the quality of the team with any real significance. It's a nothing signing that is no different to any mediocre stop gap signing we've been making consistently for the last 15 years. The only genuine first team types we've seen relatively solid links with so far are Lallana and Moreno.

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Yes
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Complete no brainer. 100% yes.
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Juventus won the Italian league went and signed Llorente and Tevez. Man City came second signed Jovetic and Negredo. Bayern Munich won the treble got Gotze. This year they've got Lewandowski.

We're back with the big boys, not hoping to finish ahead of Everton.
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The game is 1-1, I'd much rather have Lambert coming off the bench than Aspas or even Borini. With the forwards we have. It was always going to be difficult to attract a proper third striker as if everyone is fit he wouldn't get games, I can't see Lambert kicking up much fuss.

Good player, top bloke. Massively on board.
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Not much of a statement. If the mancs sign top drawer players and we end up signing an 'honest bunch of lads' we're pretty much back to square one on all fronts.
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The game is 1-1, I'd much rather have Lambert coming off the bench than Aspas or even Borini. With the forwards we have. It was always going to be difficult to attract a proper third striker as if everyone is fit he wouldn't get games, I can't see Lambert kicking up much fuss.

Good player, top bloke. Massively on board.


Complete bollocks. How come every other team challenging for leagues and champions league can have quality on the bench whereas we have to have old duffers just happy with their lot?
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Complete bollocks. How come every other team challenging for leagues and champions league can have quality on the bench whereas we have to have old duffers just happy with their lot?

Get a grip.

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Juventus won the Italian league went and signed Llorente and Tevez. Man City came second signed Jovetic and Negredo. Bayern Munich won the treble got Gotze. This year they've got Lewandowski.

We're back with the big boys, not hoping to finish ahead of Everton.


The point doesn't translate and it isn't the same point anyway in all those cases.

City can basically buy whoever they want when they want. You're not suggesting we spend £40 million plus on two backup strikers surely when we already have two top strikers here?

Bayern are an established European superpower, we're just back in the CL for the first time in 5/6 seasons. Bayern can basically buy anyone they want from the Bundesliga, even from their nearest (only) rival. Plus they're minted too.

With Juventus, they needed strikers, first choice ones at that despite winning a weak Serie A. We don't need first choice strikers.

Of course yes it would be desirable to have the cream of European talent on our bench but realistically we need to prioritise other positions.

As others have said that Lambert signing can't be judged in isolation. We need to add top quality in positions where we actually need top quality, which isn't up front.
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People can't use city and Chelsea's wealth as an excuse why we have to fish around in the bargain basement but then be alright with 20 and 30 million moves for the likes of Lallana.
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The game is 1-1, I'd much rather have Lambert coming off the bench than Aspas or even Borini. With the forwards we have. It was always going to be difficult to attract a proper third striker as if everyone is fit he wouldn't get games, I can't see Lambert kicking up much fuss.

Good player, top bloke. Massively on board.


While I see merit in signing Lambert as a 0 net replacement for Aspas if we're 1-1 desperate for a goal then Sturridge or Suarez won't be coming off anyway barring injury.
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While I see merit in signing Lambert as a 0 net replacement for Aspas if we're 1-1 desperate for a goal then Sturridge or Suarez won't be coming off anyway barring injury.


Suarez, Sturridge and Lambert could play together
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He has had 13 goals and 10 assists the last season in 31 games that he started. In total over 60 goals in 3 seasons with the Saints. It's an YES from my end. His age is the only question for me but he wouldn't come here to sit on the bench if he was in his early 20's. I am totally on board with this signing. 

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Can't shake image of Ayre saying - spilt coffee on shopping list but got, England forward, starts with L,used to be a boyhood supporter of team on Merseyside thought he would cost more! But still I think a decent signing and a good option
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Love how so many supporters are so accepting of signings like these. Small time mentality after so many years of being also rans? Chelsea and City will be laughing if this is the type of signing we make to supposedly have a chance of competing with them with the addition of continental competition.

 

It seems like supporters expect our managers style of play to carry us to glory. Rodgers style and management abilities will take us a ways, but a style of play can only take you so far when your rivals are buying the best players each window, while we continue to shop out of the bargain bin.

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Being better than Aspas isn't the criteria we should be setting when buying this summer. How about using 'good enough to challenge Suarez and Sturridge'?
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The point doesn't translate and it isn't the same point anyway in all those cases.

City can basically buy whoever they want when they want. You're not suggesting we spend £40 million plus on two backup strikers surely when we already have two top strikers here?

Bayern are an established European superpower, we're just back in the CL for the first time in 5/6 seasons. Bayern can basically buy anyone they want from the Bundesliga, even from their nearest (only) rival. Plus they're minted too.

With Juventus, they needed strikers, first choice ones at that despite winning a weak Serie A. We don't need first choice strikers.

Of course yes it would be desirable to have the cream of European talent on our bench but realistically we need to prioritise other positions.

As others have said that Lambert signing can't be judged in isolation. We need to add top quality in positions where we actually need top quality, which isn't up front.

 

We can get by with what we have up front for the time being, provided as you mentioned, we end up spending big money on a couple signings in other areas that massively improve the first team. Save the money and wages spent on a useless acquisition for those other big first team signings.

 

Then as the squad builds with real quality spend big money on another striker later on in Jan or next transfer window. As for me 3 top class strikers should be the goal for rotation purposes so there is no drop off in quality when tiredness or injuries occur, which is exactly what City have who can afford a player like Aguero to spend loads of time on the sidelines injured yet still compete.

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