As Liverpool get close to making their first of the summer, they hope that Rickie Lambert’s Southampton team-mate Adam Lallana will be joining him at Anfield for the new season.
Reports suggest that the Saints are holding out for around £30 million after rejecting Liverpool’s £25 million bid. However, there is a player that could be a much more affordable alternative to Lallana, costing just a fifth of the price, without sacrificing any of the quality.
That player is Marseille’s 29-year-old midfielder Mathieu Valbuena. The diminutive playmaker is available for around €8 million this summer and in the last few weeks his performances for France have made it clear that he is still at the top of his game.
Against Norway the midfielder was the best player on the park, setting up three of France’s four goals. Although he started on the right-wing, he is given the license of the pitch and more often than not he makes things happen.
What would be a huge addition to the Liverpool attack is Valbuena’s versatility. He can play anywhere along the front-line, he is gifted with both feet and his low centre of gravity gives him the ability to change direction and bamboozle his opponents.
Valbuena would also bring the experience of over 330 games for Marseille and 45 games in the Champions League. That experience could be vital for Liverpool next season, not many of the current squad can boast the same amount of games at the highest level. Liverpool fans may remember the wonderful goal that Valbuena scored at Anfield a few years ago when Marseille escaped with a 1-0 victory in the Champions League.
Marseille are willing to let “le petit velo” leave the Stade Velodrome for under €10 million, he has played for OM for eight seasons, he has done everything he can do at the club and it is time for the French international to move on.
France boss Didier Deschamps is a huge fan of Valbuena, in the current team, the midfielder is one of the first names on the French team-sheet. With Liverpool going into a very important season, trying to challenge in both European and Domestic competitions, they need players of experience and Valbuena would be the perfect signing.