Adam Lallana is leaving to join Brighton, according to numerous reports. The timing couldn’t be better as Curtis Jones is ready to step up.
Sky Sports, among others, report that Lallana will join Brighton when his contract finally expires. That was supposed to happen back at the end of June, of course, but the 30-year-old signed an extension to finish the Premier League season.
But his six-year Anfield career will come to a close after the Reds’ trip to Newcastle United on Sunday.
It’s been an up-and-down six years, with Lallana’s time coinciding with Liverpool’s rise to the top. He joined for the disastrous 14/15 season and then played a key role in Jurgen Klopp’s plans as the team rose to the very top.
Injuries, however, have really hurt his opportunities over the last two or three years. It’s a real shame, too, as Lallana was once a key part of this Liverpool team. His pressing, in particular, provided a wonderful attacking platform.
He’ll leave on very good terms with the club and with multiple winner’s medals.
A spot up for grabs
Lallana’s departure leaves a space in the first-team, of course. It’s one we earmarked for Jones back in February after his blistering start in the first-team squad. A report from the Mirror in April suggested that Jones would, in fact, take Lallana’s spot and everything does seem to fall into place.
Jones has really impressed since the restart as he’s played some Premier League games. He looks like the kind of player Liverpool have lacked in recent years and that’s very exciting.
The timing of Lallana’s departure couldn’t be better, then.
Jones is ready right now, regardless of there being a spot open or not. He’s 19, capable of playing Premier League football, and ready for the next stage in his development.
If Lallana wasn’t leaving, then there would be complications. Liverpool would be overflowing with midfielders and Jones would share any gametime with Lallana.
But now Jones can take the squad role that’s ideal for him right now. He shouldn’t be in the starting XI regularly as he’s not experienced enough just yet. He needs that squad role, one that a player at his age can push on from at his own pace.
If Jones is ready for more than that by the end of the season, then great. He can fight for starting places. If he isn’t, then that’s no problem – he can keep a squad role for another year.
Lallana leaving makes that possible. Jones can be the impact sub and start some less-important games, without having to battle with Lallana for an advanced midfield role.
The timing just couldn’t be better.