24-year-old Dejan Lovren impressed this term at Southampton in his debut campaign but, according to reports, the Croatian international could be on the move again just 12 months later, to Anfield.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are also linked with 22-year-old Feyenoord centre back Stefan de Vrij and the young Dutchman has Manchester United considered to be among his suitors at present.
The youngster made 32 appearances in the Dutch top tier this term, which is still, in my humble opinion, a fair way behind the Premier League in terms of competition level and intensity.
However, de Vrij averaged a pass completion rate of 87% which is superior to Levren’s 82% this term with the Saints across 31 appearances in the Premier League.
Lovren was the more dominant in his challenges overall, evidenced by his winning of 58% of his defensive duels to de Vrij’s 54% and the elder of the two Liverpool targets also averaged more defensive actions per game, 11 on average to de Vrij’s 9 per game on average.
They made the same number of defensive errors across the season, one apiece, and whilst de Vrij picked up fewer yellow cards, three to Lovren’s seven, the youngster was sent off once which Lovren was not at all this term.
Of those defensive actions, the majority of those actions were clearances for both players. De Vrij made 207 clearances across the season to Lovren’s 250, whilst de Vrij more blocks, 17 in total to Lovren’s 9 in total. However Lovren made more interceptions, 84 in total to de Vrij’s 63.
In terms of defensive duels, Lovren was successful with 58% of his tackles to de Vrij’s marginally lower 56% success rate and the Croatian was the more disciplined, committing 48 fouls to de Vrij’s 52 in total. Aerially, there was not much between the pair, Lovren won 60% of his aerial duels to de Vrij’s 59%.
In terms of who is the better defender, there is no doubt that Lovren, as the elder, is the more reliable, consistent and experienced, especially as he has a year under his belt in the Premier League which de Vrij does not.
Lovren is still relatively young in terms of a defender’s career and I believe he would be a very astute signing for Liverpool this summer, while de Vrij is a player that will need time to develop and learn his trade and the only way he is going to achieve that is through games and experience which I would not expect him to be granted a lot of access to at Anfield.