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Ex-Saint Watson: I wouldn't be surprised if Rickie left
EX-Saints striker Gordon Watson wouldn’t be shocked to see Rickie Lambert leave Saints this month.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is believed to be keen to sign the England international and end Lambert’s sensational St Mary’s life.
It would be a switch that would send shockwaves throughout the Saints fanbase – and Watson believes the move could happen.
“It depends what Pochettino is thinking about in terms of next season,” said Watson, “and the style of football he will be wanting to play.
“Rickie’s been left on the bench three times in the last few weeks.
“I would imagine Pochettino is already thinking in terms of next season, and those upstairs at the club will be as well.
“They were probably thinking that way in November as it was obvious then Saints won’t go down.
“They should already have their list of summer transfer targets now.
“If they don’t think Rickie has a big part to play next season, they should look to bring in a replacement now.
“If West Ham offered £3m, I would take it.”
Allardyce has long been an admirer of Lambert, insisting he was the difference between Saints and West Ham in 2011/12 when Saints went up automatically and the Hammers via the play-offs.
“I would say it’s 50-50 whether Rickie stays or goes,” Watson added.
“If he did go, it would be for personal reasons rather than footballing reasons.
“If he stayed, he’d be playing in a better team, but I don’t think West Ham will go down.
“Sam will be rubbing his hands thinking he could play Rickie and Andy Carroll in the same team.
“Carroll would play up top with Rickie in behind him. Sam could play two wingers and look to get the crosses in.
“Rickie will be thinking about the World Cup, and would he want to jeopardise his chance by playing for a struggling team?
“At the moment I would say Rickie is in the driving seat for Brazil (over Carroll).”
Back in early August 2009, in an interview for the Daily Echo ahead of Saints’ forthcoming League 1 campaign, Watson told Saints to go out and sign Lambert from Bristol Rovers.
A few days later, they promptly did just that.
The rest is history, with Lambert a talismanic figure in the JPT win and back to back promotions.
He is currently on 99 league goals for the club, but Watson admits Lambert might not reach his century.
“Rickie has answered every question that’s been asked of him at Saints,” Watson remarked.
“I would be the last person to criticise him.
“But he’s 32 next month and you have to ask how long will the legs last out at this level?
“That is not a criticism of Rickie at all, it’s just a case of looking at what you will need if Saints are to improve again going forward.”
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