Liverpool’s first move of the offseason, when it arrives following Sunday’s season-capper against Newcastle, will be a departure with widespread reports this morning that veteran defender Dejan Lovren is on the verge of a move to Zenit St. Petersburg.
According to The Times’ Paul Joyce and a host of others, the two clubs have agreed a fee of €12M—or £10.9M in Liverpool’s currency—for the 31-year-old Croatian centre half who had fallen to fourth in the depth chart and had two years left on his contract.
That fee, for a player in his situation, seems like a solid return—particularly in the midst of a global pandemic that has a lot of clubs feeling uncertain about their finances. Still, it is less than the fee in the £20M neighbourhood that the club sought last summer.
Then, Lovren looked on the verge of a move to Roma only for a move to break down, and last summer’s near-move followed a 2018 offseason when an exit to Serie A also seemed possible. This time, though, a deal appears to be even closer for Lovren.
While Lovren has fallen behind Joe Gomez and Joël Matip in the battle to be first choice partner to Virgil van Dijk, the defender has spent seven memorable seasons on Merseyside and made key contributions on the pitch—along with his share of rash ones.
If the deal goes through as expected, Lovren will be joining 2019-20’s runaway league winners and favourites to defend their Russian Premier League title, and will also get the chance to start for them in the Champions League.