Rickie Lambert joined Southampton from Bristol Rovers in August 2009 and has become the first name on most fans lips ever since.
As he notched a milestone 100th Saints goal with his leveller against Newcastle United a little over a week ago, the Liverpudlian has proven even his biggest doubters wrong by performing at the top level.
At a mere £1m, the deal looks to be one of the best pieces of business the club may have ever done.
Alan Pardew was the man responsible for bringing the striker to the club, identifying not just a goalscorer, but a talisman to completely build a team around.
With 90 league goals in 155 starts, the former Bristol Rovers man boasts a superb record for his current club which shows no signs of letting up.
With 12 goals already this season making him the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League, there have been murmurings that an England call-up is not too far away, and why should it be?
For Lambert isn’t just a one trick pony, far from it. Although his height makes him a dominant force in the air, his feet do not let him down. Southampton fans will be able to recall every type of goal being scored by their current number 7, from tap-ins to the extraordinary.
Since his first goal for the club against Northampton at St. Mary’s, to his most recent at the home of the Geordies, Lambert has experienced high upon high at the south coast club.
Leading the line as the club experienced back-to-back promotions to the Premier League, the 31-year-old has been the first name on the teamsheet for the past three and a bit seasons.
It was questioned whether his lack of mobility would hinder him against the best defenders in the country, but his recent performances have shown that he can stand up and be counted no matter the opposition.
His contribution to the team is also not forgotten as Lambert is also a provider of goals, bringing his side an excellent focal point and target man.
He was also named captain during the recent absence of Adam Lallana, in a period that coincided with some of his finest displays in a red and white shirt.
A set-piece specialist boasting an unbelievable 100 per cent record from the spot has led to comparisons with another club legend, Matthew Le Tissier.
Both men will go down in history as heroes of the club, but Lambert is not finished yet. Reaching 100 goals is a huge landmark for the frontman to reach, but with 10 games still to play this term Southampton’s goal machine may still add a few more to that tally before the season is up.
My top three Rickie Lambert Southampton goals:
3) Huddersfield (a) - August 15, 2009
Rickie’s first league goal came in a 3-1 defeat to Huddersfield, but it was not the result that was important for me.
This goal showcased the striker’s power in the air as Alex Smithies could only push the header into the net via the crossbar.
It may only have been a consolation, but it was the first sign of what was to come.
2) Portsmouth (a) - December 18, 2011
This goal was very close to claiming top spot because of the opposition, but this showed how Lambert came up big for the Saints when he was most needed.
Playing at the home of his club’s biggest rivals, with the game poised at 0-0, Lambert rose highest to nod home in front of the travelling fans who went wild in celebration.
1) MK Dons (a) - March 20, 2010
This goal epitomised the talent Lambert has in his touch and technique.
Chesting the ball down from Kelvin Davis’ goal-kick, the striker turns and lifts a volley over the helpless Willy Gueret and into the net from fully 35 yards to complete a second half hat-trick.
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