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Liverpool star Adam Lallana has admitted he misses his old club Southampton after his controversial £25m move in the summer.
The former Saints captain was embroiled in a bitter tug of war after indicating to the south coast club he wanted to move on having been at the club since he was 12 years old.
The Southampton board were understandably reluctant to sanction such a move and dug their heels in before eventually caving in and accepting the Anfield club’s significant offer.
Lallana was accused of refusing to play for Southampton unless the club agreed to the move but the England attacker says that was not the case – with him telling the BBC that he simply said he was keen to join the Merseyside club and asked the Saints to negotiate a deal. Nonetheless, he says he regrets how things ended.
With the 26-year-old coming up against his former side on Sunday, he admits some fans may voice their anger at how he left but hopes the majority will understand his reasons to leave, which centered around his ambition to play in the Champions League.
Interestingly, though, Lallana goes on to tell the BBC that he misses playing for Southampton. And after a difficult first season at Anfield that has been interrupted by injuries perhaps he is leaving the door open to a return in the future?
“I regret the way I left. I regret bits and pieces of how it happened and it got nasty. It was sad the way it happened,” he said.
“What is true is that when I knew of Liverpool’s interest and that they had put a bid in, I did say to the club it would be my wish if they could negotiate a fee for me to move on.
“Not for one second did I say I wouldn’t play for the club again. I’m man enough to say it was my choice and my decision for me to move on.”
Lallana understandably has ambitions to play at the highest level and despite his patchy form – hindered by injuries and the problems Liverpool as a team were struggling with – he has nonetheless shown he is an important part of Brendan Rodgers’ squad with his recent displays indicating he is on his way back to his best.
He is, therefore, likely to remain on Anfield for the foreseeable future but with him from the south coast and still having his house in the area, you wouldn’t bet against him playing in a Saints shirt again at some point in the future before he retires.