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Lambert close to Liverpool move
Liverpool and Southampton have agreed a fee for the transfer of Rickie Lambert, a source has told ESPN.
Lambert, 32, is expected to undergo a medical with the Anfield club on Saturday ahead of the proposed move which is going to cost Liverpool £4 million plus add-ons.
The striker is part of England's World Cup squad and could play a part in the friendly game against Peru at Wembley on Friday night.
He is expected to provide back-up for first-choice strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge as Liverpool prepare for Champions League football next season on top of their domestic requirements.
Southampton warn Liverpool and United
- Manchester United and Liverpool have been warned Southampton will not be rushed into selling their star players while they look for a new manager.
- United were thought to be close to signing defender Luke Shaw and Brendan Rodgers hoped to complete a deal for midfielder Adam Lallana, with both looking to finalise transfers for the England players before the World Cup begins.
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Lambert spent time at the Liverpool academy in his youth but was released by the club and played for Blackpool, Macclesfield Town, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before he was signed by Alan Pardew at Southampton in 2009.
Pardew made public declarations that Lambert needed to work on his fitness and technique to realise his potential, and the striker exploded into life in League One, scoring 30 goals in his first season at St Mary's Stadium and 21 goals in the 2010-11 promotion winning season that followed.
Another 27 Lambert goals in the Championship helped Southampton to another promotion in the 2011-12 season, and he has scored 28 goals in his first two campaigns as a Premier League player.
That form saw the 32-year-old rewarded with a place in England's World Cup squad for this summer's finals in Brazil, with Lambert now looking set to complete a fairy tale return to Liverpool ahead of the start of the next Premier League season.
Some will be surprised by the move from Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to sign the target man after he swiftly off-loaded towering striker Andy Carroll following his appointment in the summer of 2012, but it seems as if he has always been a fan of his first summer transfer target.
"I think Rickie is a terrific player," Rodgers said of Lambert last year. "People look back now and say it was a mistake to let him go but there may have been something that was a factor.
"Rickie may not have been interested in football at the time or there may have been something else in his life. He just might not have been ready for what Liverpool was about at that time but there is absolutely no doubt within development that it cannot just be about what the player is now."
Lambert's imminent departure will fuel the fear among Southampton supporters that a summer exodus beckons from Southampton following manager Mauricio Pochettino's decision to join Tottenham on Monday.
England World Cup stars Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana are also being linked with big money moves to Manchester United and Liverpool respectively, with sources telling ESPN that Shaw's move to Old Trafford is still on course despite recent reports suggesting Chelsea are preparing to hijack the deal.