Saints defender Dejan Lovren has confirmed that he wants to leave the club and that his head is already at Liverpool.
As first revealed by the Daily Echo, the Reds have had two bids turned down for the centre-half, as they look to make a third swoop on St Mary’s this summer, following their capture of Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana.
The latest bid for Lovren is said to have been around the £20m mark, although sources at St Mary’s dispute that, saying the figure is less.
However, it is a situation that has angered Lovren, who has claimed the Saints board did not inform him of the approaches and that they want £25m for him.
“Liverpool sent the offer and the club haven’t informed me,” he is quoted as saying in major Croatian sports newspaper Sportske Novosti. “Not even about the subsequent Liverpool bids.
“That wasn’t right. I found out about the bid from other people, which disappointed me, and I realised I’ve got no business staying at Southampton.
“Liverpool sent a 20 million offer and they [Saints] paid nine million for me, so they would’ve earned twice the amount.
“At this point, I don’t know what I’ll do and I don’t like it. It was unbelievable that a few days ago I had an offer of 20 million pounds.
“It was in the morning and by the afternoon the club had said I was not for sale. Frankly, my head is already at Liverpool.”
Lovren handed in a transfer request earlier this summer and says he has written a letter to the club explaining his feelings.
He does not feel that the ambitions are the same as when he signed from Lyon in an £8.5m deal a year ago.
The Echo revealed on Thursday that he is considering not returning to Saints for the start of his pre-season programme, if he has not been sold by that point - although he will receive a hefty fine if he follows through with that.
“Look, I’d gladly stay in Southampton if the club had any ambitions, if they kept the key players,” he said. “[If that had happened] not even the Liverpool bid would have dissuaded me.”
He added: “When I decided to go to Southampton, many people were surprised, but I went because the people at the club had great ambition. They gave me assurances about the project.
“The former chairman, Nicola Cortese, and the former coach, Mauricio Pochettino, convinced me. They gave me incredible confidence.
“When I began training there, I realised they had a very good team. They promised to buy two more players. They bought [Dani] Osvaldo and [Victor] Wanyama. They are great players.
“The aim was to qualify for Europe, to get into the Europa League at least.”
Lovren added that he began to have concerns about the future of the club when former chairman Nicola Cortese departed in January.
“No one knew who would take over the club,” he said. “Suspicions were raised.
“I asked Mauricio what was happening and he couldn’t say whether or not he would stay on or make promises for the next five or six years about investment in the club, challenging for the Champions League, making new signings or keeping key players.
“It was because of that I’d agreed to sign for Southampton. When the chairman left, and Pochettino was going too as early as April, I realised things had fallen apart.”
Lovren added: “Honestly, I don’t know who the main man at the club is anymore.
“They are now looking for 25 million pounds, but I don’t think they’ll get it.”
He added: “Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world. Only Real Madrid have as many fans around the world. The last time I played at Anfield, I got chills when I heard ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ I would like to listen to it all the time.”