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Liverpool have made a bid for Southampton captain Adam Lallana while his team-mate Luke Shaw is the subject of serious interest from Manchester United.
Both players have been with the south-coast club since childhood and were key members of Mauricio Pochettino’s squad that finished eighth in the Premier League.
But rumours of bids have been in the air for weeks and following the Saints’ final game of the season, a 1-1 home draw against United, the speculation has intensified.
Lallana was named in England’s World Cup squad on Monday and admitted in Sunday’s pre-match programme he has aspirations to play at a higher level.
“I’m ambitious,” he said. “I want to one day play in the Champions League.”
The 26-year-old midfielder has been a key player for Saints this season, scoring 10 goals in 42 appearances and earning three England caps.
Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger said he expected interest in the club’s star players.
“The reason people look at our players is because the club does an excellent job developing them,” Krueger told BBC Radio Solent. “It should be difficult here every summer.
“It is really important that people respect that there will be conversations going on, beginning on Monday, with clubs. That is part of the business.”
Lallana’s Southampton and England team-mate Shaw is also being linked with a move away from St Mary’s with Manchester United reported to have bid £27m for the left-back.