England star reveals why Villa move collapsed.
Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert has explained that he rejected a deadline day switch to Aston Villa last month because he could not bring himself to leave his boyhood club, the Daily Express reports.
The 33-year-old has struggled for regular game time at Anfield since arriving from Southampton over the summer, and came close to joining struggling Villa on transfer deadline day.
Lambert explains that he was told of the interest from the Midlands side with just hours to go until the window shut, but just couldn’t bring himself to go ahead with the move.
“I wasn’t aware of any interest until deadline day,” he said.
“I got a phone call from the gaffer about 4pm saying Aston Villa had come in. He said he didn’t want me to go but basically offered me the chance if I wanted to play football, which is fair enough.
“I spoke to my agent, I spoke to my wife, I spoke to Aston Villa and it was close. It was very close. It was touch and go. We agreed everything.
“The deal was agreed, but in the end, there just wasn’t enough time to say ‘yes’ – to make a decision in the space of four or five hours for the next two-and-a-half-years. Not just for me, but for my family as well.
“It was something I just couldn’t do. It was too short notice. It was too big of a decision to make in the short amount of time I had.
“It was late. It was about half nine (when I made my mind up). I would have had to have gone and done the medical then. I’d done that once before when Bristol Rovers came in for me on deadline day. Back then I was driving down in the car and negotiating the contract. That would have had to have been the same again. But at the last minute I said no.
“It was nothing negative towards Aston Villa, it’s a great club. I just didn’t think it was right for me to leave here just six months into my Liverpool career. I didn’t want to go.
“It was something that I would have probably looked back at a few years down the line and regretted if I had moved too early. It was very close but I just couldn’t do it.”
“It’s hard sometimes when you aren’t playing but I’m at the club I love. I’m not willing to give that up easily.”