There’s no two ways about it: Dejan Lovren’s methods in trying to force through a move from Southampton to Liverpool aren’t condonable and aren’t professional.
It is an affront to the club who gave him his chance in England, and who expected that a four-year contract means that for four years, the decision as to whether to cash in or not was theirs. That is how contracts in football are supposed to work, at least.
Not only that, but Liverpool fans shouldn’t exactly be accepting of this behaviour, either, just because it stands to benefit them for now. Think about it. What if Lovren has an outstanding first season or two at Anfield, and attracts the interest of a Real Madrid or Bayern Munich?
There’s a chance we could see the exact same antics.
Despite this, I’m aware of the other factors that contribute to the situation. Not that they make it okay, but hopefully they mean this behaviour from the Croatian is a one-off.
Firstly is the fact that not only are Southampton losing a host of key players this summer, but manager Mauricio Pochettino was one of the first to go. Lovren, we can only imagine, feels some loyalty towards Pochettino but not Ronald Koeman, who has just arrived at St Mary’s.
Brendan Rodgers, on the other hand, has worked hard to establish his authority at Liverpool and show his players that his leadership is something worth trusting in. Luis Suarez’s incredible season after the Ivanovic biting incident is the prime example of this. Such a shame that things went back downhill while the striker was away with Uruguay at the World Cup…
All signs apart from Lovren’s recent acts suggest he does have a good degree of character, and I am confident Rodgers would bring this to the forefront, not his ability to throw a tantrum to get his own way.
And then there’s the old classic – Champions League football. The measuring stick, it seems these days, for whether any given player should be happy with being an important member of a thriving team or if they should push for more.
It’s a little sad that the days of players aiming to turn the team they are playing for into that ‘Champions League football’ side rather than flock to where it’s already happening, but I suppose we cannot expect anyone – not just footballers – to do something the hard way when there’s a much quicker, easier path available.
Finally I suggested during the run-in at the end of last season that Southampton would be a good shopping target for several top clubs, including Liverpool. As it turns out, the Reds thought the same and will surely soon have three – Lovren as well as the already-confirmed Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert.
It’s tough not to feel for the Saints, who are in the midst of paying the price for being successful when they weren’t supposed to be. But they now have a good fund to re-invest and even though we could see more departures, such as Morgan Schneiderlin to Arsenal or even Liverpool again, I know Koeman is a strong manager who can get a lot out of his players and the Southampton business model could well continue to thrive.
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- Dejan Lovren
- Liverpool fans