Lallana - the key man for Saints this summer

Daily Echo: ADAM LALLANA ADAM LALLANA

HE once watched former youth colleagues Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale sprint past him in the race from the Saints academy to the Premier League big time.

While those players were rubbing shoulders with world class team-mates and opponents, Adam Lallana was helping to cement his place among the hearts of Saints fans by helping the club win promotion from the third division.

Lallana has since gone on to emerge as a key member of a Saints squad that will claim a top eight Premier League finish just three short years after finishing runners-up in League 1.

He is also regarded as a ‘must pick’ for Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad this summer, despite not having made his senior international debut until last November.

As captain of a Saints team that has hoovered up accolades from rival managers and players all season, and with nine Premier League goals and six assists to his name, the playmaker’s star has never been higher.

He was one of only six players nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award last weekend, and along with Luke Shaw was chosen for the Team of the Year.

That completed a hat-trick of such awards, having been named in the PFA’s League 1 team in 2010/11 and the Championship team 12 months later.

Unsurprisingly, his impressive performances have led to the inevitable speculation linking him with the biggest clubs in the country.

Saints fans have had to get used to this in recent years.

Walcott and Bale were constantly linked with moves before they did leave.

Shaw was linked with the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal even before he made his Premier League debut in November 2012.

Jay Rodriguez, Morgan Schneiderlin, Dejan Lovren, Calum Chambers and Sam Gallagher have also been the subject of tabloid speculation in recent months.

Lallana is different, though.

He has been an almost ever present fixture in the team as Saints have risen phoenix-like in recent years.

Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had just one full season in the Saints teams before their multi-million pound moves to the bright lights of London.

Walcott had barely half a season in the first team before he was enticed away.

Lallana has been a regular ever since the start of the 2008/09 season.

He has played 263 competitive games for the club, and scored 60 goals.

Bale (45), Oxlade-Chamberlain (43) and Walcott (22) only played 111 between them.

The St Mary’s faithful view Lallana as one of their own, a modern-day Matt Le Tissier in terms of his skills and his ability to conjure up some spectacular goals.

Of course, Le Tissier stayed loyal to Saints throughout his stellar career, at times turning down far bigger clubs – and one presumes salaries – to remain at The Dell.

Will Lallana do the same?

He is coming to the crossroads of his career.

Turning 26 the day before Saints’ final game of the season against Manchester United next month, Lallana is at the peak of his creative powers.

Though transfer speculation must always be taken with a healthy dose of salt, the leading Premier League clubs must be looking at him closely.

They wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they weren’t.

Clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea have mega money behind them, and they need top English talent in order to comply with Premier League squad rules and regulations.

A good World Cup in Brazil will only add millions to Lallana’s price tag. And every player has one, don’t forget that.

Adam Lallana is fast approaching the most critical summer of his career.

Forget the World Cup, I am talking purely Saints here.

If he wants to one day play for one of the biggest clubs in England – regularly challenging for honours at home and in Europe – the next few months surely provides him with what could be his best ever chance.

He might never get a better chance of joining one of the biggest clubs in Europe.

That is, of course, providing Lallana wants to go. He has never said he wants to go, and only last April signed a new extended contract taking him through to the summer of 2018 (Shaw is contracted the same length of time).

He carries so much hope on his shoulders.

I would suggest a lot of Saints supporters would expect Shaw to leave, if not this summer then the next one.

He is too good, with so much potential.

If Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City – all linked with the teenager – want to pay about £25m, surely Saints would take it.

The world record for a left back is the £29.5m Barcelona paid to sign Dani Alves six years ago.

Since then, Real Madrid paid £25m to sign Fabio Coentrao in 2011.

Only the most famous names in world football pay those sorts of fees for a left back.

If any club wants to pay that much for Shaw, I can’t believe many Saints fans would begrudge the player a move if he wants one.

Lallana, though.

Lallana is different.

If he left, the signals it would send out would be so very different to than the ones if Shaw departed.

Adam Lallana has been the recent past for Saints, and he is very much part of the present.

Saints need him to be part of their immediate future too.

If he left – and speculation won’t go away – it would be a massive blow for the club.

Lallana, despite his age, is almost certainly viewed by his colleagues as a senior pro at the club.

Not just the fact he carries the captain’s armband, not just his performances, but his longevity at St Mary’s earns him respect.

Players might expect a young lad like Shaw to move to a footballing giant, with a huge career ahead of him that could easily see him emulate Ashley Cole by winning a century of England caps.

But how would the departure of the talismanic Lallana go down with the squad?

What message would that send out?

A family man now, Lallana became a father in September 2012 to Arthur and got married to long-time girlfriend Emily in Poole just before last Christmas.

They are a south coast couple, who have grown up with all their friends and families around them.

Lallana would have to uproot part of that family tree to move to Anfield or Old Trafford.

For £70,000 a week, as has been rumoured, it could be a price worth paying.

Who knows?

What we do know, though, is this.

Adam Lallan is integral to the future of Southampton Football Club.

Many players have come and gone in the past six years, but he has been a constant presence.

Like Le Tissier in his heyday, Lallana is the pumping heartbeat of an at times thrilling Saints team.

It is impossible to see him leaving St Mary’s prior to the World Cup.

Surely Saints would wait to see how he performs in Brazil before deciding his future?

That gives the club precious breathing space in the transfer market.

And while player power is stronger than ever, the club do hold the ace card.

They don’t have to sell any player under contract.

No doubt the Saints squad is packed full of ambitious players.

And it is only human nature that having finished eighth in the top flight, you then want to aim higher next time.

To move up a few places from where Saints will finish this term, however, requires squad strengthening.

It will require the flexing of financial muscles.

Players will want to see new signings added to what Mauricio Pochettino has confessed is a thin squad in terms of numbers.

That is the harsh reality of the success Saints have enjoyed since last August.

To bring about continued success, more money must be spent.

There is no guarantee, however, that splashing the cash brings that success, that continued progress.

But it’s not all about bringing in new blood.

Along the way, Saints probably don’t want to lose any of their senior players.

There is a football hierarchy, though. Always has been, always will be.

Saints were losing top players to Manchester United back in the 1980s (Danny Wallace).

They were losing top players to clubs paying big money in the 1990s (Alan Shearer, Tim Flowers).

And they lost their top left back a few weeks after finishing eighth in 2003 (Wayne Bridge).

The footballing landscape has not altered too much over the years in that respect.

Now Saints fans face an uncertain summer, though they are used to that.

They will be hoping Adam Lallana can sprinkle some creative fairydust on the biggest stage of them all for England ...

... knowing that if he does, he could come under increasing pressure to continue to stay loyal to the club that turned him into a superstar.

Comments (12)

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6:58am Wed 30 Apr 14

Rising_Son says...

To summarise the article. Adam Lallana is a good footballer. He's special and plays for Saints but there are rumours that other teams are interested and might be willing to pay big money for him. Saints have sold players in the past. He has a contract with Saints, so we don't have to sell him. In other words, we don't know what will happen.
To summarise the article. Adam Lallana is a good footballer. He's special and plays for Saints but there are rumours that other teams are interested and might be willing to pay big money for him. Saints have sold players in the past. He has a contract with Saints, so we don't have to sell him. In other words, we don't know what will happen. Rising_Son
  • Score: 12

7:25am Wed 30 Apr 14

Puddletown Saint says...

My hope is that all the Saints players stay for one more season. This will see if the board matches the ambition of the players and fans. Hold on tight.
My hope is that all the Saints players stay for one more season. This will see if the board matches the ambition of the players and fans. Hold on tight. Puddletown Saint
  • Score: 8

8:06am Wed 30 Apr 14

STARK88 says...

A very good comment for a change DE,let's hope a good performance in Brazil can say I do not need to leave Saints!!
A very good comment for a change DE,let's hope a good performance in Brazil can say I do not need to leave Saints!! STARK88
  • Score: 7

8:42am Wed 30 Apr 14

costa gaz says...

RS, having a long term contract means nothing and it'll will be the player who decides if he goes or stays, the club will not be able to hold on to any player if the player decides he's off..

If he does go, followed by Shaw, it could trigger the exodus we are all worried about,
Pochettino, Lovren, Schniederlin, Chambers, Wanyama, Cork, J Rod are all very hot property right now and have all been touted by top 6 sides.
We cannot compete with the deals being offered by the top clubs because thats the way FIFA has set things up.
FIFA does not want clubs like us gatecrashing the top table.
RS, having a long term contract means nothing and it'll will be the player who decides if he goes or stays, the club will not be able to hold on to any player if the player decides he's off.. If he does go, followed by Shaw, it could trigger the exodus we are all worried about, Pochettino, Lovren, Schniederlin, Chambers, Wanyama, Cork, J Rod are all very hot property right now and have all been touted by top 6 sides. We cannot compete with the deals being offered by the top clubs because thats the way FIFA has set things up. FIFA does not want clubs like us gatecrashing the top table. costa gaz
  • Score: -3

8:49am Wed 30 Apr 14

Sheffieldsaint says...

The problem is, as I see is that although Adam is on a long term contract he hasn't committed to the club long term in recent interviews.
'We will sit down in the summer and see what happens' is usually a euphemism for I'm leaving. I certainly hope I'm wrong and much will depend I think on who will be our Manager come the start of next season. The fact that MoPo has moved down the pecking order for the Spurs job certainly makes me more optimistic that he will stay.
Squeaky bum time methinks..
The problem is, as I see is that although Adam is on a long term contract he hasn't committed to the club long term in recent interviews. 'We will sit down in the summer and see what happens' is usually a euphemism for I'm leaving. I certainly hope I'm wrong and much will depend I think on who will be our Manager come the start of next season. The fact that MoPo has moved down the pecking order for the Spurs job certainly makes me more optimistic that he will stay. Squeaky bum time methinks.. Sheffieldsaint
  • Score: 3

9:15am Wed 30 Apr 14

andoru says...

So Shaw is "too good"? For Saints? What's that supposed to mean? Why do we have to accept that only certain clubs are entitled to be the best? The whole idea that there are big clubs and small clubs really irks me. Certainly there are rich ones and poor ones, but a name, history, a shirt – these are all in the mind. They are not concrete reasons why a club is better than another. A team is only as good as the players it puts out every season. Man Utd, Chelsea, etc are no more deserving of signing the best players than Southampton just because they've won stuff before. Saints discovered and developed these players. I think that entitles them to benefit from their talents as well. In fact, we should get first refusal.
So Shaw is "too good"? For Saints? What's that supposed to mean? Why do we have to accept that only certain clubs are entitled to be the best? The whole idea that there are big clubs and small clubs really irks me. Certainly there are rich ones and poor ones, but a name, history, a shirt – these are all in the mind. They are not concrete reasons why a club is better than another. A team is only as good as the players it puts out every season. Man Utd, Chelsea, etc are no more deserving of signing the best players than Southampton just because they've won stuff before. Saints discovered and developed these players. I think that entitles them to benefit from their talents as well. In fact, we should get first refusal. andoru
  • Score: 24

9:26am Wed 30 Apr 14

Saint Jinx says...

Not a bad article, but what does he mean: He is too good...

Too good for Saints, what a f.....g cheek!
Not a bad article, but what does he mean: He is too good... Too good for Saints, what a f.....g cheek! Saint Jinx
  • Score: 9

9:45am Wed 30 Apr 14

Rising_Son says...

costa gaz wrote:
RS, having a long term contract means nothing and it'll will be the player who decides if he goes or stays, the club will not be able to hold on to any player if the player decides he's off..

If he does go, followed by Shaw, it could trigger the exodus we are all worried about,
Pochettino, Lovren, Schniederlin, Chambers, Wanyama, Cork, J Rod are all very hot property right now and have all been touted by top 6 sides.
We cannot compete with the deals being offered by the top clubs because thats the way FIFA has set things up.
FIFA does not want clubs like us gatecrashing the top table.
If a contract (long-term or otherwise) means nothing, could you explain why Suarez is still at Liverpool?

The answer is that Liverpool exercised the right they had because of the contract to keep him. In the end it, while the contact is in force, it is ultimately the club that decides. Just because clubs often decide to let the 'discontented' player leave, it does not mean contracts have no meaning.
[quote][p][bold]costa gaz[/bold] wrote: RS, having a long term contract means nothing and it'll will be the player who decides if he goes or stays, the club will not be able to hold on to any player if the player decides he's off.. If he does go, followed by Shaw, it could trigger the exodus we are all worried about, Pochettino, Lovren, Schniederlin, Chambers, Wanyama, Cork, J Rod are all very hot property right now and have all been touted by top 6 sides. We cannot compete with the deals being offered by the top clubs because thats the way FIFA has set things up. FIFA does not want clubs like us gatecrashing the top table.[/p][/quote]If a contract (long-term or otherwise) means nothing, could you explain why Suarez is still at Liverpool? The answer is that Liverpool exercised the right they had because of the contract to keep him. In the end it, while the contact is in force, it is ultimately the club that decides. Just because clubs often decide to let the 'discontented' player leave, it does not mean contracts have no meaning. Rising_Son
  • Score: 11

10:47am Wed 30 Apr 14

redsnapper says...

Too good for Saints!! What a Crass comment
Instead of writing incessantly about rumours why don't you scribblers do some research and analyse some potential new players ?

Keep it simple and look at those already in the Prem.

Here is a starter---CarDfiff GK--Marshall .....now why not find 10 more instead of copying the rumour mill from the national rags and spinning negative vibes to us supporters.
Too good for Saints!! What a Crass comment Instead of writing incessantly about rumours why don't you scribblers do some research and analyse some potential new players ? Keep it simple and look at those already in the Prem. Here is a starter---CarDfiff GK--Marshall .....now why not find 10 more instead of copying the rumour mill from the national rags and spinning negative vibes to us supporters. redsnapper
  • Score: 5

10:59am Wed 30 Apr 14

el caballo santos101 says...

costa gaz wrote:
RS, having a long term contract means nothing and it'll will be the player who decides if he goes or stays, the club will not be able to hold on to any player if the player decides he's off..

If he does go, followed by Shaw, it could trigger the exodus we are all worried about,
Pochettino, Lovren, Schniederlin, Chambers, Wanyama, Cork, J Rod are all very hot property right now and have all been touted by top 6 sides.
We cannot compete with the deals being offered by the top clubs because thats the way FIFA has set things up.
FIFA does not want clubs like us gatecrashing the top table.
if you truly believe that players have the ultimate say on whether they honour a contract or not then why bother with contracts at all. if as you are suggesting they are not worth the paper they are written on then lets get rid of player contracts and have freelance players able to come and go as they please.
I think you will find that the players themselves wouldn't accept that as contracts give them a guaranteed wage for the length of the contract and its very hard for a club to get out of a players contract unless the player agrees to a payoff or the player is sacked, not many players get sacked despite all the bad press some get.
the fact that luke has 4 years left n his contract means we re under absolutely no pressure to sell him, even if (and he hasn't yet) he were to submit a written transfer request. if luke had 1-2 years left on his contract we would be under more pressure to sell because if you let a player get down to 1 year left buying clubs wont offer as much as they can talk to and sign the player in the jan window for the next season. that's when players often get the moves they ask for.
as an add on to RS`s reply regarding suarez, might I also add shrek who put in a written transfer request at the end of last season and was told no, and peter odemwingie who put in transfer requests at west brum and even drove down to qpr on deadline day hoping to force a move, west brum had him tied down to a contract and said no. He was widely criticised for his attempt to join QPR with Albion chairman branding him "wholly unprofessionally". After initially being sent home from training on his return to West Brum, Odemwingie was later disciplined by the club for his actions on transfer deadline day and resumed training, while also publicly apologising for his behaviour. he was sold in the summer to Cardiff for £2.5mill after west brum turned down £3mill from qpr. he got a move but later than he wanted (his three year deal was running down) and not to the club he wanted!
clubs can hold players to contracts, it just depends on how determined they are!
[quote][p][bold]costa gaz[/bold] wrote: RS, having a long term contract means nothing and it'll will be the player who decides if he goes or stays, the club will not be able to hold on to any player if the player decides he's off.. If he does go, followed by Shaw, it could trigger the exodus we are all worried about, Pochettino, Lovren, Schniederlin, Chambers, Wanyama, Cork, J Rod are all very hot property right now and have all been touted by top 6 sides. We cannot compete with the deals being offered by the top clubs because thats the way FIFA has set things up. FIFA does not want clubs like us gatecrashing the top table.[/p][/quote]if you truly believe that players have the ultimate say on whether they honour a contract or not then why bother with contracts at all. if as you are suggesting they are not worth the paper they are written on then lets get rid of player contracts and have freelance players able to come and go as they please. I think you will find that the players themselves wouldn't accept that as contracts give them a guaranteed wage for the length of the contract and its very hard for a club to get out of a players contract unless the player agrees to a payoff or the player is sacked, not many players get sacked despite all the bad press some get. the fact that luke has 4 years left n his contract means we re under absolutely no pressure to sell him, even if (and he hasn't yet) he were to submit a written transfer request. if luke had 1-2 years left on his contract we would be under more pressure to sell because if you let a player get down to 1 year left buying clubs wont offer as much as they can talk to and sign the player in the jan window for the next season. that's when players often get the moves they ask for. as an add on to RS`s reply regarding suarez, might I also add shrek who put in a written transfer request at the end of last season and was told no, and peter odemwingie who put in transfer requests at west brum and even drove down to qpr on deadline day hoping to force a move, west brum had him tied down to a contract and said no. He was widely criticised for his attempt to join QPR with Albion chairman branding him "wholly unprofessionally". After initially being sent home from training on his return to West Brum, Odemwingie was later disciplined by the club for his actions on transfer deadline day and resumed training, while also publicly apologising for his behaviour. he was sold in the summer to Cardiff for £2.5mill after west brum turned down £3mill from qpr. he got a move but later than he wanted (his three year deal was running down) and not to the club he wanted! clubs can hold players to contracts, it just depends on how determined they are! el caballo santos101
  • Score: 8

11:52am Wed 30 Apr 14

Alicesdad says...

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he will stay, unless he goes. The same goes for MoPo, he's definitely not leaving, unless of course he does, in which case those who had doubts will be shown to be correct. If he stays then it will be shown that many were right all along and there was nothing to worry about.

The same principles apply to the board, they will either sell the club or keep it, and then again they may or may not invest more big money in the club. One things for sure it will be one or the other so that narrows it down.

Other players will also make up their mind based on similar principles, I am sure they will not be tempted by doubling their wages, the opportunity to win trophies and the possibility of international careers and European football. We dont have anyone as shallow as that in our ranks do we? Other than those currently sitting on benches in Italy.

The summer will shake out answers to all these questions, conundrums and enigmas. These threads will be packed with speculation, assumption, rumours and downright lies. Now and the a smidgeon of truth may creep in but we will cope with that I'm sure.

.. and then there's always the world cup, then the new shirts will be announced, then the fixture list, and then we will start playing matches again.....

It's all as clear as crystal.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he will stay, unless he goes. The same goes for MoPo, he's definitely not leaving, unless of course he does, in which case those who had doubts will be shown to be correct. If he stays then it will be shown that many were right all along and there was nothing to worry about. The same principles apply to the board, they will either sell the club or keep it, and then again they may or may not invest more big money in the club. One things for sure it will be one or the other so that narrows it down. Other players will also make up their mind based on similar principles, I am sure they will not be tempted by doubling their wages, the opportunity to win trophies and the possibility of international careers and European football. We dont have anyone as shallow as that in our ranks do we? Other than those currently sitting on benches in Italy. The summer will shake out answers to all these questions, conundrums and enigmas. These threads will be packed with speculation, assumption, rumours and downright lies. Now and the a smidgeon of truth may creep in but we will cope with that I'm sure. .. and then there's always the world cup, then the new shirts will be announced, then the fixture list, and then we will start playing matches again..... It's all as clear as crystal. Alicesdad
  • Score: 6

1:22am Thu 1 May 14

bris saint says...

I think this was a well thought out article, it deals with the fact that a contract is never set in stone. Players and managers will come and go within the terms of their contracts (and by the way I never want to see Adam leave or others) but to suggest that any player is too good to play for Saints is an absolute insult. Not good ECHO
I think this was a well thought out article, it deals with the fact that a contract is never set in stone. Players and managers will come and go within the terms of their contracts (and by the way I never want to see Adam leave or others) but to suggest that any player is too good to play for Saints is an absolute insult. Not good ECHO bris saint
  • Score: 0

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