Liverpool move for Lallana and Rakitic, Fabregas to Chelsea?
Southampton captain has told the club he wants to leave, but may have to hand in transfer request
Southampton's summer could be about to take another turn for the worse. After losing manager Mauricio Pochettino to Spurs and striker Rickie Lambert to Liverpool, captain Adam Lallana has told the south coast club that he too wants to leave, and will likely follow in the footsteps of Lambert to Anfield.
The 25-year-old midfielder, currently on World Cup duty with England "has not put in a transfer request but has made his feelings known to Southampton", reports the BBC. But it adds that the Saints will not let any other players leave the club until a new manager is in place.
The Daily Mirror, meanwhile, says the Saints have turned down a £25m offer from Liverpool and are holding out for more money as they insist they do not have to sell the player. Liverpool, though, are refusing to increase their offer because there are no other bidders for the England man who has made it clear he wants to join them. The impasse means Lallana "may have to force the issue by handing in a formal transfer request".
Meanwhile the Daily Express says that Liverpool and United are tailing Ivan Rakitic although the Sevilla captain is also being courted by Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Rakitic, who skippered his side to Europa League glory against Benfica, is regarded as one of the finest midfielders in Spain, and will be in the global shop window later this month when he plays for Croatia in the World Cup.
The Express claims that Liverpool gaffer Brendan Rodgers is keen to play Ratkitic alongside Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson in his midfield and will be authorised by the club board to make a £30m bid after the World Cup. Asked about his son's plans, Luka Rakitic replied: "We'll decide after the World Cup."
One player the Reds have definitely signed is Southampton and England forward Rickie Lambert. The club's official website confirmed that the move had gone ahead, issuing a statement in which the 32-year-old said: "I can't believe it. I've loved this club all my life. I left here 17 years ago - and I haven't stopped loving it since."
To no one's great surprise, Sky Sports reports that Frank Lampard has confirmed he won't be back at the Bridge in August. The now former Chelsea midfielder – the club's all-time leading scorer with 211 goals – is out of contract and he has decided the time is right for a new challenge. Giving no clue as to his future plans, the 35-year-old Lampard said in a statement: "Whatever the next challenge is for me I will always be amongst you and have Chelsea in my home and in my heart. Hopefully I will get to see you all soon to say goodbye properly. In the meantime thank you for the memories and keep making history!"
Things move on pretty fast at the Bridge these days though, and no sooner had Jose Mourinho wiped away a tear and waves Frank off than he was lining up Barcelona misfit Cesc Fabregas as the man to replace him.
The Daily Telegraph says the Blues want Fabregas to become Lampard's long-term successor, and with Barcelona closing in on Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke they may be able to persuade him to return to London in a £30m deal this summer.
Apparently Fabregas is "disappointed Arsenal have not shown any firm interest in him, but is willing to look at other options in the Premier League". The Gunners have first refusal on Fabregas, but Arsene Wenger believes that he is too similar to current Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil.
Chelsea are also eyeing Paulinho, and Juventus star Paul Pogba, as possible replacements for Lampard, "but the availability of Fabregas has elevated him towards the top of Mourinho’s list", says the paper.
Elsewhere and according to Metro, Manchester United and Liverpool have both submitted "official bids" to Barcelona in the hope of landing Alexis Sanchez. They're not alone, mind, with Paris Saint-Germain also chasing the winger and Spurs and Juventus also said to be ready to make an offer for the 25-year-old Chilean.
It's a while since the MK Dons have dominated the headlines but according to the Daily Star Milton Keynes' finest "are preparing themselves for an onslaught of bids" from some of the Premier League's most powerful clubs. The object of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea's affections is Dele Alli, an 18-year-old midfielder who has been the Don's ding-dong player of the last 12 months.
Now, says the Star, the teenager is being pursued by the three giants and the League One side is hoping a bidding war will break out. Currently valued at £5m, Ali could fetch a far greater price says Dons boss Karl Robinson. "Everyone knows his talent and I have no doubt he will be a fantastic player for a top club," he said, adding that he was "desperate to keep him if I am honest". But with any one of the Gunners, the Blues or the Reds willing to pay over the odds for Alli, Robinson admitted that he will be sold providing they "meet our value".
One move close to completion concerns Cardiff City midfielder Jordon Mutch with Goal.com reporting that Sunderland are tantalizingly close to "sealing a £1.5 million move for the 22-year-old". Mutch was one of the few players to do himself justice last season as Cardiff were relegated to the Championship and Sunderland are confident of bringing him to the Stadium of Light for next season.