Liverpool closing on Lambert deal
Published 30/05/2014 | 17:27
Liverpool hope to be able to confirm Rickie Lambert as their first signing of the summer on Monday.
Providing he emerges from England's friendly with Peru at Wembley tonight unscathed the Southampton striker will travel to Merseyside for a medical on Saturday.
Once that is completed Press Association Sport understands the Reds expect to be in a position to complete the formalities of the paperwork and announce the 32-year-old's arrival for a fee of £4million at the start of next week.
There are a number of add-ons tied in to the deal but the eventual figure will not get close to the £9million being suggested in some quarters.
By the time the deal, believed to be for two years, is officially concluded Lambert is likely to already be in Miami for the next stage of England's World Cup preparations.
The transfer has progressed quickly as Liverpool said it had to be done before the World Cup and with the player keen to rejoin the club he left as a teenager, Saints found it difficult to stand in his way given the forward's service to the club.
Lambert was born in Kirkby, Merseyside, and was a member of Liverpool's academy until his mid-teens when he was released and found himself plying his trade in the lower leagues for the likes of Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before finding success at Southampton.
He will provide some much-needed back-up to frontline strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge at Anfield and while he may have to content himself with a supporting role from the bench, the chance to rejoin his boyhood club and play in the Champions League was an opportunity he did not want to miss.
Manager Brendan Rodgers' interest in Lambert came out of left-field while he was pursuing deals for the striker's team-mates Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren.
Lallana was seen as the primary target to bolster the Reds' midfield, with Lovren less so for the centre of defence, but Lambert will be the first through the door at Anfield in what is expected to be a busy summer as they look to strengthen ahead of a return to the Champions League.
Liverpool have made a bid, reported to be in the region of £16million, for Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno but are still in negotiations with the Europa League winners.
Press Association Sport understands further talks with Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can over the weekend are likely to give a clearer idea of whether the Germany Under-21 international will also move to Merseyside.
Although there is a buy-out clause of about £10million which Liverpool are willing to meet, the player's wage demands are proving a significant stumbling block.
However, what interest the club had in Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm to provide competition for Simon Mignolet has cooled and they are no longer considering the Dutchman as a viable target.