9 Feb 2017

Deal Close: Liverpool very close to sealing massive deal for 'brilliant' £50m attacker. Advanced talks ongoing

Liverpool are reportedly on the verge of handing one of the club's most inconsistent players a gigantic new deal.

According to The Telegraph:

"Talks between Adam Lallana and his representatives are at an advanced stage, with the England international to shortly pen a deal worth £150,000 a week. The new terms will keep the midfielder on Merseyside until 2021"

£150k-a-week for Lallana? Totally undeserved, but it's indicative of Liverpool's penchant for handing players massive contracts without considering the future implications. Liverpool, for example, handed Reina, Johnson, and Enrique huge long-term deals, and then struggled to get rid of them once their form hit the skids. Meanwhile, the club consequently hemorrhaged money, which inexorably led a concerted effort to reduce the wage bill. A few other points:

* Lallana's good form for the first 4 months of the season is the *exception* to his time at LFC, not the rule. As such, it's unclear why he's worth £150k-a-week, especially in light of the inconsistency that continues to blight his career.

* Lallana's current deal expires in 2019, so why the rush to hand him a new deal? It's arguably more prudent to wait until the end of the season to assess whether he has helped Liverpool actually achieve something.

* Why conduct negotiations in the middle of the season? Lallana should be 100% focused on helping Liverpool arrest the current downward spiral, and it's arguably no coincidence that his current run of poor form has coincided with pay rise negotiations.

* A fair appraisal of Lallana's overall impact shows regular and damaging inconsistency:

- 2014-15: No assists for 5 months (Dec 28th till the end of season).

- 2014-15: 1 goal in 18 games (Sep 13 to Nov 23)

- 2014-15: 2 goals in 21 games (Jan 1st till end of season)

- 2015-16: Failed to score for 21 games in a row (Oct 4 to Jan 17).

- 2015-16: Failed to scored for 12 games in a row (Mar 6 to Apr 23)

- 2015-16: One paltry assist in 13 games (Mar 17 to the end of the season)

- 2015-16: Not in the Premier League's top 20 for assists or key passes.

- 2016-17: 1 goal/1 assist in last 11 games; Nothing for 8 games in a row.

Yes, Lallana presses, runs, and harries, but this is of little value unless it leads to discernible forward progress. In his first two seasons, Liverpool finished 6th and 8th in the league, and regular goals/assists would've been much more valuable than running 10 miles a game with little end product.

Don't get me wrong: I'm glad Lallana has finally decided to turn up this season, and he deserves credit for getting his act together; however, the level at which he performed in the first-half of the season is exactly the level he *should* be achieving. After all, he is a highly experienced international, operating under a top manager, with every training, coaching, fitness, and nutritional advantage at his beck and call.

Lallana is 28 now, and unlikely to get much better. He's far too inconsistent to be the galvanising presence Liverpool desperately need, and when the going gets tough, he always disappears. A club with ambition would realise this, and sell him to the highest bidder (whilst his value is at an all-time high), and use the money to sign a better, more consistent player.

Liverpool just never learn. The club short-sightedly handed Jurgen Klopp a new 6-year deal despite regression in the league, and failing to outperform Brendan Rodgers; Joe Gomez got a new 5-year deal despite the fact he FOUR YEARS remaining on his initial deal; Mignolet get a new 5-year deal then got dropped (!); now, FSG is making the same mistake with Lallana, though this potential decision is far more egregious.

It's the typical LFC trend, though: reward players/the manager for achieving *nothing*, instead of rewarding them for actually doing their jobs and facilitating actual, measurable progress. To add insult to injury, the club wants to hand Lallana an obscene payday despite the fact he's back to usual pattern of underperforming, and abjectly failing to step up when the club needs him the most.

In my view, Lallana's inconsistency played a huge part in Liverpool's failure to qualify for the Champions League for the last two seasons, and history is repeating itself this season. Still, despite that, give him a massive pay-rise!

* Lallana: PSG reportedly made a £50m bid. Hailed last week as 'brilliant' by Alan Shearer.


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