Liverpool Transfer News: Dejan Lovren to Force Move, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar Latest

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2014

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 26:  James McCarthy of Everton and Dejan Lovren of Southampton battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Everton at St Mary's Stadium on April 26, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
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Updates from Friday, July 4

Sky Sports have the latest on Lovren's potential move to Liverpool:

Sky sources understand Southampton have rejected an £18million offer from Liverpool for Dejan Lovren.

The Croatia international is reportedly keen to link up with former team-mates Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana, who have both left St Mary's for Anfield this summer.

But Southampton are refusing to do business and are holding out for a £25m fee for a player who joined them for £8.5m from Lyon last June.

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Southampton's Dejan Lovren is reportedly set to force a move away from the club as Liverpool pursue the centre-back.

According to Gordon Simpson in the Southern Daily Echo, Lovren has already handed in a transfer request at St Mary's and is planning to not turn up for pre-season as he angles for a move:

Dejan Lovren is expected to be a no-show at pre-season, as he attempts to force a move away from Saints. [...]

He will be expected back at St Mary’s later this month, with his involvement at the World Cup meaning he is scheduled to return later than most of the squad.

However, the 24-year-old Croatian international is unlikely to appear.

Simpson's report suggests the Reds have already had bids rejected for Lovren despite matching the £20 million asking price for the player.

Jon Super/Associated Press

However, they are expected to go in again for Lovren as boss Brendan Rodgers looks to bolster his defence, per The Timesfootball editor Tony Evans on talkSPORT:

It’s a bit disturbing that most of Liverpool’s transfer targets are forwards. He needs to get defenders in there. There will be a renewed bid for Dejan Lovren this week though. The second half of window will be spent trying to sign defenders. They need more than one.

Rodgers has already completed the signings of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Emre Can but desperately needs defensive reinforcements after shipping 50 goals in the Premier League last season.

Lovren was one of the league's best players in 2013-14, per the Daily Mirror's Martin Lipton, and would add real quality to the Reds defence:

Meanwhile, Rodgers must also look to strengthen his strikeforce as it is seeming increasingly likely that Luis Suarez is on his way to Barcelona, per Andy Hunter of The Guardian. 

FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 29:  Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of the Netherlands celebrates scoring his team's second goal on a penalty kick in stoppage time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Castelao on June 29
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

And they could be in for Schalke and Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has seemingly linked himself with the club per Bild via 101 Great Goals:

Regarding rumours about Liverpool it’d only be fair to speak to Schalke first.

The negotiations with the club have been running for some time. In the holidays I do not want anyone bothering me. After the holidays I’ll speak further with Schalke. This is soon enough.

I am now speaking with my manager and above the interests of the club. I concentrate on the World Cup.

Huntelaar scored the winning penalty for the Netherlands against Mexico to see them through to the World Cup last eight, and he bagged 12 goals in 18 Bundesliga appearances last season, per

While not in the same league as Suarez—few players are—he is a proven goalscorer, and with only one year left on his Schalke contract he would be considerably cheaper than the proposed £80 million Liverpool could receive for the Uruguayan, leaving plenty more money left over to reinvest.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JULY 01: Josip Drmic of Switzerland challenges Marcos Rojo of Argentina during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Argentina and Switzerland at Arena de Sao Paulo on July 1, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Ma
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Some of that money may reportedly go toward the purchase of versatile defender Marcos Rojo of Argentina and Sporting Lisbon, whose agent, Carlos Goncalves, insists the interest from Liverpool—and others—in his charge is unsurprising, per Radio CRC via talkSPORT. Goncalves said, "Marcos is a talented player so it is normal that the big clubs might be interested in him."

The 24-year-old Argentinian is valued at €20 million (£16 million), per 101 Great Goals, and would be another fine addition to Liverpool's weak back line. 

It will be a relief for Liverpool fans to see their club finally linked with some defenders as their current back line would likely be torn apart in their return to Champions League football next season.

While Rojo would bolster the weak left-back options at Anfield, Lovren would likely have the greater influence in shoring up the back four and thus must currently be Rodgers' prime target.