As far as rumours go, the Mirror’s suggestion that Rickie Lambert could head to Chelsea this summer seems as though it must be the work of a random transfer rumour generator. Or perhaps of a bored intern scrolling through Football Manager databases with his eyes closed and linking whichever name is sat under his index finger once he opens them.
Certainly it doesn’t seem the sort of rumour that might actually have any solid backing to it. Mostly because it seems ridiculous no matter how one comes at it. Rickie Lambert may well be moving on from Liverpool this summer, but at 33 years of age and unable to regularly crack a Liverpool lineup that has been largely lacking in strikers all season doesn’t exactly scream potential Chelsea target.
Even as fourth option, Lambert would seem a very odd choice to replace the 37-year-old Didier Drogba, who Liverpool fans at least will remember most recently looking better than Lambert at linking up with Liverpool players at Steven Gerrard’s testimonial last month. It is especially odd as, despite his age, Drogba does not plan on retiring this summer.
The Ivorian has also had a far more effective season as an occasional contributor for Chelsea than the struggling Lambert has for Liverpool: Drogba has four goals in 27 appearances, with a goal coming every 210 minutes he’s on the pitch and a 13.3% strike rate, while Lambert has two goals in 22 appearances, with a goal coming every 362 minutes he’s on the pitch and a 10.5% strike rate.
Neither may be up to making a major contribution at this stage in their careers or of being a regular starter, but paying to bring in Rickie Lambert after the year he’s had—and at the cost of a Chelsea legend who, despite being older, continues to look more effective—is hard to explain. Unless it really is the work someone running through lists of strikers and pairing whichever he lands on.
In the spirit of that, we here at the Liverpool Offside will now embark on a similarly rigorous striker transfer rumour program. First up, we have Southampton, who when we opened our eyes we discovered would be picking up 23-year-old striker Luuk de Jong from PSV this summer. A solid purchase, but also a player who seems unlikely to ever quite measure up to the lofty expectations he began his career with.
Meanwhile, Arsenal will buy Milton Caraglio, who Wikipedia says is a 26-year-old playing for Velez Sarsfield in Argentina. And Liverpool will be replacing Lambert—when he heads to Chelsea, of course—with James Wilson, an 18-year-old Manchester United prospect. Or maybe not. Still, seems about as likely as Lambert to Chelsea.