Despite suggestions from those close to the player that he might not report to pre-season training, Southampton defender Dejan Lovren has today travelled with Saints as they head to Holland and Belgium as part of their preparations for the coming season. Lovren is believed to still be pushing for a Liverpool move behind the scenes, but has backed away from the possibility of more drastic actions to force it.
No matter what happens, it's at least a move in a more civil, professional direction. Neither Lovren nor Southampton have covered themselves in glory so far in this ongoing transfer saga. Lovren's bosses at Southampton kicked things off by leaving a written transfer request from the player unanswered for weeks, and the defender followed that up by publicly agitating for a move and suggesting he wouldn't report for pre-season.
Some of that could be blamed on a lack of leadership after the departure of Mauricio Pochettino, who left the club for Tottenham earlier in the summer. His departure appeared to leave a void the club was unable to fill, with both Lovren and new Liverpool signing Adam Lallana hitting out at Saints' upper management. With Ronald Koeman now in place, though, there's a chance the club has now found some stability again.
"We want to keep all information private and not in the press, so that was not a good thing on Dejan's side," said Koeman when asked about his wantaway centre half. "I have spoken to Dejan twice and I want to keep him. He has a contract. But I do not know what will happen after this. I know Liverpool have a lot of money now after the transfer and they will spend some. Maybe they will buy a player from Southampton."
Liverpool remain reluctant to move above their earlier offer, reported to be short of the initially rumoured £20M and closer to £18M including all potential add-ons. However, the club are not believed to have given up hope that a deal can be reached to bring Lovren to Anfield.