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.
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.
However, they are expected to go in again for Lovren as boss Brendan Rodgers looks to bolster his defence, per The Times' football 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:
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 WhoScored.com.
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.
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.