Liverpool close to joining Manchester Utd in dual Saints raid

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Hot on the heels of England left-back Luke Shaw’s scurry out of the Southampton exit door, fellow Three Lions new-boy and Saints star Adam Lallana looks destined for Liverpool, with respected media sources claiming the 26-year-old is just a completed medical away from becoming a Red.

New St Mary’s chief Ronald Koeman can hardly have had time to become acquainted with the England pair on return from their country’s disastrous World Cup campaign, although combined £52m transfer fees should soften the blow for the Dutchman.

After making Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera their first signing under Luis van Gaal for £29m a day earlier, the Red Devils dug down the back of the Old Trafford sofa and found another £27m – potentially rising to £31m – for the 18-year-old.

Whether or not Shaw will immediately take over from Patrice Evra as Man Utd’s first-choice left-back will be an interesting sub-plot to the start of next term, but Lallana will expect to make Brendan Rodgers’ teamsheet straight away at Anfield.

The Northern Irishman will be shorn of the attacking talents of Luis Suarez at the start of the season – possibly much longer if the Uruguayan can complete his long-planned escape from Merseyside – and won’t sanction a move that could cost more than £25m for a 26-year-old fringe-player.

Lallana bagged nine times and laid on five assists for his club during the 2013/14 campaign, and his understanding with former Saints striker Rickie Lambert will be crucial to Liverpool’s 15/2 tilt at a first Premier League title.

Thoughts on the south coast will now turn to how Koeman spends some of the cash, with a move expected for Feyenoord striker Graziano Pelle, who posted a stunning tally of 50 goals in 57 Eredivisie matches over the past two campaigns under the new Saints chief.

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