Dejan Lovren hands in transfer request to force Liverpool move

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Southampton defender Dejan Lovren has handed in a transfer request in order to force a move away from the south coast club this summer, according to the Daily Mail.

The Croatian only joined the Saints last year a in a deal worth £7 million from Lyon, and he enjoyed a superb maiden campaign in the Premier League. 

Under former boss Maurico Pochettino he helped solve one of the major problems dogging the Saints in their first season back in England's top flight - their leaky defence. He featured in 31 of their Premier League games last season, helping them secure 8th place - their joint highest top-flight finish - as well as a record points haul.

However the optimism felt at St. Mary's last season is quickly disappearing as a host of players look to follow Pochettino - now in charge at Tottenham - out of the door. 

Striker Rickie Lambert has already left to join Liverpool and rumours persist that Luke Shaw could also be on his way to Manchester United. Liverpool have also been heavily linked with Adam Lallana, although that deal appears to have been put on the back burner for the time being. 

While it had initially seemed that Southampton had been able to steady the ship following a flurry of rumours at the end of last season, the news that Lovren has handed in a transfer request will undoubtedly unsettle the club's fans even further.

The Daily Mail say that Lovren sent an email to chairman Ralph Kruege as well as executive director Les Reed at the end of May to notify them of his intention to leave. The paper adds that he is keen on playing Champions League football - something he would get if he does complete a move to Liverpool. His decision was triggered by the departure of Pochettino, who  was instrumental in luring him to Southampton in the first place.

This will come as huge boost to Liverpool who are said to be keen on the 24-year-old, whose assured presence and ability on the ball means he would be well suited to life at Anfield. 

The Reds have plenty of centre-backs on their books as it stands, but the fact they shipped 50 goals last term - more than 11th placed Crystal Palace - means they are almost certain to enter the market for more options at the back. 

Lovren will probably set Liverpool back somewhere in the region of £15 million and because Southampton don't currently have a manger a deal is likely to take some time yet. There's alway a risk attached to signing a player on the basis of one season in the Premier League, but Lovren's age and ability seem to make him the ideal signing for Brendan Rodgers.

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