Dejan Lovren latest: Ronald Koeman in battle to keep Liverpool target at Southampton

Croatian defender could become the fourth player to leave St Mary's this summer

Ronald Koeman insisted somewhat improbably at his first press conference as Southampton manager that the Saints “are not a selling club”. Yet he has already walked into a battle to prevent a fourth first-team player from leaving St Mary’s this summer.

Rickie Lambert and captain Adam Lallana have joined Liverpool, and a third England player, Luke Shaw, has decamped to Manchester United, for combined fees of around £50million – deals done, Koeman admitted, before he arrived.

But Croatia defender Dejan Lovren is also a Liverpool target and said last week that his “head is at Anfield”, claiming that Southampton had reneged on a verbal agreement to sell him when bidding reached £20m. Koeman denied any knowledge of such an agreement but said: “I know Liverpool got a lot of money now after the transfer [of Luis Suarez to Barcelona] and normally they will spend that money and they will buy players and maybe they will buy one player of Southampton. That’s a decision of the board. But we’ve sold three players and that’s enough.”

Koeman pointed out that Lovren has three years’ contract remaining, and was openly critical of the decision to go public. “You should keep this information within the club and not in the press,” he said. “That was not a good thing on his side. We expect Dejan Lovren back on Sunday [for a pre-season tour of Belgium and Holland]. We will have a talk and see if he’s present on Sunday.”

He has signed Dusan Tadic from FC Twente for £10m as a replacement for Lallana, and believes that Feyenoord will sell Italian forward Graziano Pelle for around £9m. He also denied that a bid had been received from Tottenham Hotspur, managed by Mauricio Pochettino, his predecessor, for the midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.

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