Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is set to join the race for Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, according to reports.
Local paper the Surrey Mirror cites speculation in Croatia when claiming that ‘the Special One’ is poised to make a late move for the centre back. He has been heavily linked with a switch to Merseyside during the summer transfer window.
Indeed, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is close to agreeing a £20million deal for the player, according to ESPN, despite Ronald Koeman insisting that a ‘good bid’ has yet to be placed on the table.
The new Southampton boss has seen several players leave since arriving at St Mary’s, with two of those players - Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert - joining Liverpool. Young full-back Luke Shaw has also left for Manchester United.
Koeman also hinted that Lovren ‘likes the move’ in reference to the Reds’ reported interest following the pre-season win over Swindon, which could well give them an advantage if a transfer battle were to ensue.
Liverpool are in need of defensive reinforcements this summer, after being exposed in the position last season. Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Mamadou Sakho all remain, but there is little choice after that as Kolo Toure nears an Anfield exit.
On occasion last season, Rodgers liked to play three at the back, and if he’s to experiment with that again this term, he’ll need to add more bodies in the position. That’s especially true when you consider that the Reds will be competing at Europe’s top table once again in the Champions League.
If Liverpool can secure the signing of Loren, it will mean close to £50million paid to the Saints for three players.
As for Chelsea, there options seem a little clearer at the heart of defence with John Terry and Gary Cahill forming a solid partnership last season. Branislav Ivanovic can also shift across from right-back following the arrival of Felipe Luis, but they have lost David Luiz for big money.
An additional senior body would make sense for the Blues, and if the reports are to be believed then it’s Lovren who has caught the eye of Mourinho in his first Premier League season on the south coast.
Unlucky to bow out at the group stage of the World Cup, the 25-year-old has plenty of years ahead of him and European experience from his time with Lyon. That would make him an excellent addition at Stamford Bridge if Chelsea were to make a move happen, but the legitimacy of the link remains to be seen.