‘My head is already at Liverpool,’ says Lovren

The Croatian defender is furious at Southampton’s rejection of a £20 million bid from the Reds for his services and slams the south-coast club’s lack of ambition

Southampton defender Dejan Lovren says his “head is already at Liverpool” after revealing his frustration at not being sold to the Reds.

Having already signed Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana from the Saints this summer, Brendan Rodgers’s side made a £20 million bid for the centre-back just a year after he joined the club from Lille and the Croatian is aghast that it was not accepted.

Lovren, also a target for Arsenal – now believes that he has “no business staying at Southampton”, despite the south-coast side telling the Reds that he is not for sale.

“Liverpool sent the offer and the club haven’t informed me,” he told Sportske Novosti, “not even about the subsequent Liverpool bids. That wasn’t right.

“I found out about the bid from other people which disappointed me and I realised I’ve got no business staying at Southampton.

“Liverpool sent a £20 million offer and [Southampton] paid £9m for me so they would’ve earned twice the amount.

“At this point, I don’t know what I’ll do and I don’t like it. It was unbelievable that a few days ago I had an offer of £20m. It was in the morning and by the afternoon the club had said I was not for sale. Frankly, my head is already at Liverpool.”

Lovren is furious at what he sees as a giving-up of the Saints’ lofty Champions League ambitions, with manager Mauricio Pochettino allowed to leave for Tottenham and the club’s stars sold.

“Look, I’d gladly stay in Southampton if the club had any ambitions, if they kept the key players,” he continued. “Not even the Liverpool bid would have dissuaded me [in that case].

“When I decided to go to Southampton, many people were surprised but I went because the people at the club had great ambition. They gave me assurances about the project – the former chairman, Nicola Cortese, and Pochettino convinced me. They gave me incredible confidence.

“When I began training there, I realised they had a very good team. They promised to buy two more players – they bought [Dani] Osvaldo and [Victor] Wanyama. They are great players. The aim was to qualify for Europe, to get into the Europa League at least.

But he added of Cortese’s departure as chief executive in January: “No-one knew who would take over the club. Suspicions were raised.

“I asked Mauricio what was happening and he couldn’t say whether or not he would stay on or make promises for the next five or six years about investment in the club, challenging for the Champions League, making new signings or keeping key players.

“It was because of that I’d agreed to sign for Southampton. When the chairman left and Pochettino was going too – as early as April – I realised things had fallen apart.”

Lovren says that playing at Anfield last season – where he scored the only goal in a Southampton victory – first attracted him to the Reds, from whom he says Saints want £25m.

“Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world,” the defender enthused. “Only Real Madrid have as many fans around the world. The last time I played at Anfield, I got chills when I heard ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. I would like to listen to it all the time.

“[Southampton] are now looking for £25m but I don’t think they’ll get it.”

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