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Lallana tries to make peace with Southampton fans

ESPN staff
July 2, 2014 « Liverpool eye Sanchez in Suarez talks | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Lallana will wear the No.20 shirt at Liverpool © Getty Images
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Adam Lallana waved goodbye to Southampton fans with a full-page advert in the local newspaper after making a £25 million switch to Liverpool.

The midfielder spent 14 years at the club, helping them return to the Premier League after a seven-year absence and rising to become club captain.

Lallana's advert in the Southern Daily Echo features a large photo of him in Southampton kit, proudly wearing the captain's armband, with the words "thank you" above and a statement to the fans below.

It reads: "14 unforgettable years, the memories will last a lifetime. Thank you Saints fans for your endless support, a place in my heart forever."

The gesture is likely to receive a mixed response at St Mary's after allegations that Lallana forced through the transfer. Southampton were desperate to keep him, but the Sun reports that he issued the club with an ultimatum, refusing to play for them again if they blocked the transfer.

"Adam threw his toys out of the pram - and revealed he would never play for the team again if they did not accept Liverpool's offer," a source told the Sun. "It left a bitter taste."

Lallana's message of thanks to the Southampton fans is notably shorter than the open letter penned by former team-mate Rickie Lambert, who has also moved to Liverpool this summer. The striker, who had only been at St Mary's for five years, thanked club officials and former team-mates by name, before going on to praise the fans.

Liverpool had to be persistent to land Lallana after having two bids turned down and the forward was certainly grateful for their efforts, saying on Tuesday that he was delighted to be joining a "special club".

"I'm so excited for the next chapter of my career, coming to a special club like Liverpool," he said. "I'm quite humbled and I just can't wait to get started.

"Liverpool have got so much history and after the season they had last season, I can't wait to get started and carry on and build on that. Champions League football is back; everyone is telling me that the atmosphere on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at Anfield are something special.

"There had been a lot of toing and froing and [the transfer] had been a little bit longer than I'd anticipated, but it's something I'm not quite used to. I'm grateful that Southampton accepted the offer in the end and granted my wish to play at such a fantastic football club, in Champions League football and competing for Premier League titles."

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