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Dejan Lovren to force exit from Southampton with pre-season no-show
Dejan Lovren is expected to be a no-show at pre-season, as he attempts to force a move away from Saints.
Sources close to the player have confirmed to the Daily Echo that the centre-half does not currently plan to return to the club this summer.
Lovren, who is being pursued by Liverpool, has already submitted a transfer request and does not wish to play for Saints again.
He will be expected back at St Mary’s later this month, with his involvement at the World Cup meaning he is scheduled to return later than most of the squad.
However, the 24-year-old Croatian international is unlikely to appear.
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Liverpool want to sign Lovren and it is understood that at least two approaches from the Reds have been knocked back this summer.
The defender, who has also been linked with Tottenham, is unhappy at the stance of the Saints board, and believes an agreement was in place with him that if another club offered a certain amount, believed to be around £20m, he would be allowed to leave.
Liverpool are said to have matched that figure, only for Saints to stand firm and knock back the offer, and the club will point to the four-year contract the player signed when he joined from Lyon in an £8.5m deal last summer.
Lovren is said to also be frustrated that the project he was supposedly told about last summer has “completely changed”.
The Echo has been told that Lovren’s ambition is to play Champions League football and that he does not feel that will be possible at Saints any longer.
Lovren was an integral component of the team last season, forming a strong partnership with José Fonte at the heart of the back line.
His impressive performances have seen his value soar, and Saints’ current stance is that they do not wish to sell him, while they expect him to honour his contract.
By intending not to return, though, Lovren is hoping he can force through a transfer.
However, if Saints do agree to sell him, they will not accept a cut-price deal on the basis that he wants out.