Dejan Lovren is set to become the most expensive defender in Liverpool history, as several sources are reporting a £20 million move from Southampton will be finalised once the player passes his medical over the weekend.
It was originally reported said medical would take place in the USA, where the Reds are on their preseason tour, but according to the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce, those plans have changed.
Instead, Ian Ayre will fly back to Liverpool to complete the transfer for the Croatian international there.
The BBC's Ben Smith confirmed the news:
New Southampton manager Ronald Koeman told reporters Lovren could join the Reds if the latter improved their offer for the player substantially, as reported by the Daily Echo's Gordon Simpson:
If they are interested, they have to come with a bid, and a good one, and then we can speak about that, because the player likes to move.
Players have to be happy in Southampton – they have to fight for the colours of Southampton and, if not, ok, but always if there is a good bid on the table.
Both parties appear to have agreed on a £20 million fee, a substantial increase on the £8.5 million Southampton paid for the defender just 12 months ago, per Pearce. Liverpool are spending far more on the player than they originally intended, and for all of his quality, you would have to say the Reds are overspending.
And that's okay. In fact, it's more than okay. It's exactly what Brendan Rodgers needed to do.
Don't get me wrong—Lovren is an excellent player, and he'll immediately become the best defender the Reds have at their disposal. He has Premier League experience, Rodgers had the chance to scout him up close so this transfer makes perfect sense on every conceivable level.
In any other year, £20 million for a centre-back who isn't considered "world class" (a term people use far too loosely) would be considered excessive. Paris Saint-Germain paid just £33 million for Thiago Silva two years ago, per Goal's Livio Caferoglu, and the Brazilian is widely considered the best defender on the planet.
From that perspective, Liverpool did, in fact, overspend. But so did everyone else during the summer of 2014. PSG spent £50 million on David Luiz, via Sky Sports, and the Daily Mail's Chris Wheeler says Eliaquim Mangala will cost Manchester City £32 million once that deal is finalised.
Overspending is the name of the game for top teams in 2014, and it goes against what Rodgers has done in the transfer market during his time in charge of Liverpool.
The club is trying to establish itself as a dominant force in English football once again, but on the market, the Reds kept looking for bargain deals and young talents they could potentially develop into contributors.
It's a financially healthy strategy but also the mentality of a small club. Big clubs combine young talent and smart signings with top players who fill a need, and they're willing to spend big on order to improve the squad immediately.
Liverpool have the financial means to complete this transfer, and they have the need in the centre of their back four. The fact they are reportedly willing to go ahead with the move despite their initial valuation of the player shows they are no longer thinking as that smaller club trying to crack the top four of the Premier League table.
No, Rodgers and Ayre identified a position of need, found the player they wanted and are now pulling the trigger on a move worth more than double what the player cost a year ago.
That's what top clubs do. Whether or not Lovren is the right option for Liverpool is food for another article—the fact they're willing to spend in order to get him shows the Reds are finally starting to embrace the mentality of a contending club.