Arsenal have been warned they would be making a big mistake in signing Adam Lallana this summer – even if Liverpool allow the former England man to depart on a free transfer.
Reports on Friday listed both Leicester and West Ham as potential suitors for the 31-year-old, with the Foxes – managed by former Reds boss Brendan Rodgers – named as favourites to sign him.
However, both Arsenal and Tottenham have also been mentioned as admirers of Lallana, who falls out of contract at the end of the season. Liverpool do have a 12-month option on the player, but it’s thought they will allow him to move on as a free agent at the end of the campaign following the arrival of Takumi Minamino.
“Lallana is a player I like but he has had so many injuries problems,” Winterburn said when reflecting on Lallana’s struggles over the past two seasons.
“When you’re looking to bring players in for the first team or even the squad, you have to be careful.”
Arsenal are very much in the rebuilding stage under new boss Mikel Arteta and Winterburn thinks Arsenal could struggle to secure European football next season – leading to the likely departures of big-name stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
“You want to keep all the best players you got, you want to work with them and play with them,” he added.
“Unfortunately, players are earning massive amounts of money now and if they want to force a move they will. I’m more interested in the players that come to the club.
“Whether they’re highly rated or not, we’re only interested in what they do when they get here. If you’ve got a World Cup winner with all the stats and everyone is raving on about him.
“And then he comes to Arsenal and doesn’t do very well, we’d all be saying what a waste of time and money that was.”
Despite little chance of a new deal under Jurgen Klopp, Lallana recently confirmed he will not take his eye off the ball this season.
“Whatever my contract situation is that will be going on in the background,” he said last month. “There’s not a chance that that will affect my commitment to this club.
“I’ve given 110% throughout my Liverpool career I will continue to do so. Whether that finishes at the end of the season or continues, this is a great squad and I couldn’t be enjoying my football any more.”