Liverpool’s chase of Southampton’s Dejan Lovren has hit a stumbling block because the Southampton are demanding £25 million for the centre-back.
Lovren is understood to be desperate for a move to Anfield, and has been quoted saying that his head is already at Liverpool.
However, Saints are not in a position where they need to sell after the influx of money they have received from Manchester United for Luke Shaw and from Liverpool, previously, for Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana.
Understandably the South-Coast club are now determined to keep hold of their key players and are asking for what appears excessive fees for their protagonists.
Lovren was in fine form last season after signing for Southampton in the summer from Lyon for around £8.5 million and caught the eye of Brendan Rodgers in his debut campaign in English football.
The Reds boss is now hoping to add him to his squad, but faces the dilemma of whether or not to spend the requisite asking price to land the 25-year-old, who has been identified as one of his top targets.
Liverpool already have Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger that can all play at the heart of their defence, meaning Lovren comes into a position where they have plenty of quality.
The Croatian, therefore, needs to prove he is significantly better than what Rodgers already has to warrant his price-tag and the stats from last season, as shown in the table below, would suggest that he wouldn’t be a big enough advancement to justify such a fee.
|Team||Pos||Apps||Error Lead To Goal||Outfielder Block||Total Tackle||Won Tackle||Effective Clearance||Aerial Won||Accurate Pass||Mins|
Lovren may have stood out in the tackling department, making and completing more challenges than any of Liverpool’s current first-choice defenders, but in other areas he is behind.
For instance, Skrtel has made considerably more blocks and clearances than Lovren, whilst Sakho and Agger both boast similar ratios in terms of clearances and better in the blocking department per game.
Rodgers will be encouraged, however, by Lovren’s ability in possession and he appears to have the style of play to slot in with Liverpool’s demanding principles of patient football, with a high number of accurate passes over the course of last season.
It does seem that Lovren, therefore, would be a good fit at Anfield, but his price-tag is simply too high at this current time to make a deal viable with Sakho and Agger both capable of doing a similar job.
It means that Liverpool’s money may be better spent elsewhere, unless Southampton are prepared to negotiate on their asking price.