Dejan Lovren is attracting concrete interest from Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg ahead of the next transfer window, leaving it likely Liverpool sign a new centre-back.
Lovren has entered the final year of his contract with the Reds, and is not expected to renew his terms having dropped down the pecking order.
Last summer almost heralded a switch to AS Roma, only for a deal to break down and the Croatian to agree to remain as part of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad for an ultimately title-winning campaign.
But now he looks set to leave Merseyside in the coming months, with widespread reports on Sunday evening revealing interest from Zenit.
Jones adds that there is “interest from a number of clubs,” reporting “enquiries from at least two Premier League clubs” in the past six months, but describes Zenit’s interest as “particularly strong.”
Manuel Veth, writer for the Russian football website Futbolgrad, assessed that “the chances of this happening are high,” with Lovren a potential replacement for Branislav Ivanovic.
“Thanks to Gazprom they have the money to sign him,” Veth continues, which would solve a problem for Liverpool as they look to recoup much of the £20 million fee they paid to sign him back in 2014.
If Lovren does leave, of course, it would leave an important hole to fill in Klopp’s squad, regardless of his limited minutes this season.
There is the prospect of one of Sepp van den Berg or Ki-Jana Hoever being promoted into the role of fourth choice, or the signing of another midfielder—say, Thiago—allowing Fabinho to take up duties when required.
But though Liverpool have insisted they will keep spending to a minimum at this stage, it seems more likely that a new senior centre-back will be signed.
They would need to be content with serving as backup to the likes of Matip, Gomez and Virgil van Dijk, but they would be joining the new champions of England, who are well-placed to challenge in both the Premier League and Champions League next season.
No candidates have been presented at this stage, though fanciful reports from Italy of interest in Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly can certainly be ignored.