Liverpool and England midfielder Adam Lallana is understood to be close to signing for Brighton and Hove Albion despite offers from other Premier League clubs.
Lallana, 32, who is out of contract at Anfield at the end of this season, has been in talks with Albion over a possible three-year contract, according to Sky Sports.
Lallana spent his early career on the South Coast. His family moved to Bournemouth when he was five and he later signed for the Cherries’ centre of excellence, where a Southampton scout spotted him.
Lallana went on to score 48 goals in 235 appearances for the Saints before his move to Liverpool in 2014. At that time, Brighton were struggling to stay in the Championship under Sami Hyypia but, with Chris Hughton at the helm, the club’s fortunes changed and within two seasons the Seagulls were in the promised land.
Graham Potter is now in charge as Albion look forward to a fourth consecutive Premier League campaign. Potter has put his faith in a number of young English players. His back line often consists of Lewis Dunk, 28, Adam Webster, 25, Dan Burn, 28, and, most exciting of all, 19-year-old Tariq Lamptey. Add to that centre-back Matt Clarke, 23, will return from a season-long loan from Derby.
As well as providing an experienced head in front of the defence, Lallana linking with Aaron Mooy and Pascal Gross could relieve Albion’s struggles to score at the other end of the pitch. Lallana may be employed centrally rather than wide to have more influence on games.
Academy graduates such as Solly March and Aaron Connolly would also benefit from having a player of Lallana’s experience alongside them and on the training ground.
Pushing for place
Another Albion academy graduate, left-back Alex Cochrane, is pushing for inclusion in the Seagulls’ final game of the season at Burnley today (26 July), according to the Brighton and Hove Independent.
The England under-20 international was on the bench against Newcastle in his side’s 0-0 draw on Monday. Along the coast, Portsmouth are said to be keen on signing Cochrane on loan for next season.
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