Southampton’s Croatian World Cup centre-half Dejan Lovren rejoined his club teammates at their Belgium training camp, having been denied a £20m move to Liverpool – where the 25-year-old has stated his head already is – thus far.
Lovren’s attempt to join Saints old boys Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana at Anfield appears to have failed, with new St Mary’s chief Ronald Koeman more in the mood to buy than sell and the Reds looking unlikely to up their offer.
However, what Brendan Rodgers does next regarding his defensive ranks could have major implications on Southampton’s 2014/15 campaign, as well as a few of their fellow southerners’ seasons.
Cardiff’s Steven Caulker signed for the Bluebirds last summer from Spurs for £8m, having spent the 2011/12 term on loan at Swansea – under then boss Brendan Rodgers’ care – before turning out for the Lilywhites 28 times during the following campaign.
The relegated Welshmen have no choice but to let the one-cap England man go, and Crystal Palace were thought to be leading the race – which is also said to include Southampton and QPR – for Caulker’s paw print.
All three relative Premier League paupers may have to bow down for last year’s runners-up though, as the 22-year-old is reportedly waiting for former gaffer Rodgers to declare his interest, despite holding talks with both the aforementioned London outfits.
Harry Redknapp’s promoted R’s are still hopeful of landing the Feltham native, but the west Londoners are making eyes at Tottenham captain and former Caulker teammate Michael Dawson as a contingency measure.
Of course, if the Northern Irish gaffer throws a curve ball by sanctioning an acceptable bid to Southampton for Lovren, then Koeman could re-enter the race to sign Caulker in a hurry, and last term’s eighth-placed club would expect to hold a considerable advantage over a pair of outfits who finished below them in the league ladder.