Dejan Lovren faces the prospect of a fine from Saints if he does not return on time for pre-season training.
As reported in yesterday’s Daily Echo, the centre-half is considering not reporting back for duty, as he looks to secure a move away from the club.
Lovren, a target for Liverpool who is also rumoured to be attracting interest from Tottenham, has already submitted a transfer request, and sources close to the player have confirmed his current stance is that he does not intend to come back.
There is still another two weeks or so until the 24-year-old is due at St Mary’s, as he is given extra time off because of his involvement with Croatia in the World Cup.
Whether, if push comes to shove, he follows through with the threat remains to be seen, but the indications right now are that he is not planning to appear, in the hope that he can force the club’s hand.
If he is still a Saints player at that time and he does not report back, he will be fined.
Lovren is said to be frustrated that the project he was supposedly told about last summer, when he signed in an £8.5m deal from Lyon, 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.
He is also said to be upset that Saints knocked back an approach from Liverpool, claimed to be around the £20m mark, when he and his representatives thought an agreement was in place that he would be allowed to leave for that amount.
The defender has another three years left on his current deal at St Mary’s.