Liverpool's Adam Lallana deal hangs in balance
Striker Rickie Lambert's return to Liverpool is genuinely a dream come true for the player but the Reds are going to have more difficulty bringing his Southampton team-mate Adam Lallana to Anfield.
The 32-year-old Lambert, released from the Merseysiders' academy as a teenager, confirmed his "homecoming" after signing a two-year deal.
Saints, having accepted a £4m bid late last week, admitted they could not stand in the way of a return to his boyhood club.
However, they will not be so obliging with Lallana, whom they value higher than Liverpool's £25m take-it-or-leave-it bid on Thursday as they have a 25 per cent sell-on clause with Bournemouth.
"We are deep in the process of appointing a new manager who will continue to move our club forward," said a Saints statement.
"It remains our preference not to partake in any transfers until the new manager is in place.
"We are staying true to our plan and vision and, as a result, we have no need to accept any offers."
Liverpool's offer will remain on the table but they have alternative targets, one of whom is Bayern Munich's Xherdan Shaqiri.
The club's pursuit of Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno remains at the negotiation stage but at least Lambert has enjoyed an emotional homecoming all round.
"I've been trying to let it sink in for a week and it still hasn't," he said. "Even now, I am finding it hard to allow it to sink in. My mum and dad shed a few tears when I told them. It's not just playing for Liverpool, it's the fact I'm coming home."