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The Reds baulked at the £20 million fee quoted by Swansea for their Cote d'Ivoire international striker and instead decided to turn their attentions to the Southampton star

EXCLUSIVE
By Paul Clennam

Liverpool's surprise move for Southampton striker Rickie Lambert was prompted after Swansea City demanded £20 million for Wilfried Bony.

The Reds had initially lined up the former Vitesse forward as one of their primary summer transfer targets after the 25-year-old's impressive first season in England.

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Bony had initially been used sparingly by former Swans boss Michael Laudrup as he adapted to the rigours of the Premier League but seven goals in nine games saw him finish the season as one of the division's most potent attacking talents.

His impressive form during the second half of the campaign duly attracted the interest of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who is keen to provide competition for lethal duo Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

But after discovering Swansea were looking for a fee of £20m, a £6m increase on what the Welsh club paid to bring him to the Premier League under a year ago, the Reds decided to turn their attentions elsewhere and specifically to Southampton striker Lambert.

As reported by Goal, the Anfield club have now tabled a bid that could rise to £9m for the England striker, who is currently with the rest of the Three Lions squad ahead of Friday's World Cup warm-up meeting with Peru at Wembley.

Rodgers will be keen to tie up a deal for the former Bristol Rovers man, a lifelong Liverpool fan, before the start of the tournament in Brazil to allow him the opportunity to focus on deals for other targets, including Lambert's Saints team-mate Adam Lallana.

The 26-year-old, another of the Southampton contingent in Roy Hodgson's 23-man World Cup squad, has been a revelation in the Premier League this past season and Goal understands the south-coast club will demand £30m for their captain and prized asset.

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