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Liverpool and Lovren at a crossroads in the transfer market

With the future of Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren still up in the air, the Champions League winners have been linked with a move for a number of central defensive options this summer.

As they gear up for another Premier League campaign, there is pressure on them to spend big once again and reinforce their position from last season.

There has been a clamouring, to see the deadwood sold off this summer to make way for appropriate upgrades at Anfield. Along similar lines, Jamie Carragher recently waded in on the arguments concerning Dejan Lovren’s future, when talking to the Anfield Wrap.

In transfer windows gone by, the logic of the Liverpool legend would be pretty solid: if the club could seek a reasonable deal for the Croatian, then yes, get the deal done and go after the upgrade. However, the current transfer market makes this logical approach somewhat problematic for the Reds.

Distortion

Liverpool’s new found riches, should not hasten them to recklessness in their transfer dealings. Quite the opposite in fact. rival clubs will likely be on high alert, ready to up the ante as well as the asking price, should Liverpool come enquiring this summer.

If they do choose to break the bank on a defender who may not even be first choice; they run the risk of creating something of a name for themselves amidst the hawkers and manipulators of the transfer world. It is never an ideal position, to be seen as a club willing to frequently pay over the odds. With such a distorted market and inflated asking prices, it can also be a very costly position to take on in negotiations.

The distortion in the transfer market, of which, Liverpool have had some hand in creating, has made it very difficult indeed to find true value with player recruitment.

From teenage defenders seeking the heaviest wage packet to rookie youngsters valued at over £70 million; pickings are not entirely easy for Liverpool or any other club looking to do business this summer.

Caution

All of this brings us back to Mr. Lovren and his tentative future on Merseyside. The Croatian is one of the most polarizing figures at Anfield and his wretched injury record has only exacerbated the volume of calls for his exit this summer.

Liverpool though would do well to pause for a moment’s caution though. If they do sell, it will ratchet up the pressure on them to bring in a readymade replacement and as we’ve already discovered; one of those will not come cheap.

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Directors and money men at rival clubs would not be ignorant of their need for a fourth defender going into what promises to be another busy and altogether draining schedule at Anfield.

In Lovren, Liverpool have an experienced deputy who would likely be keen on staying put with the Champions League winners. His passion, enjoyment, and admiration of being at a club as big as Liverpool have won him some love from the fans and he is a popular figure in the dressing room. He still has the tendency to lapse in concentration from time to time, but on his day, he is a capable defender.

Injuries are the big problem though. The Croatian has only once managed over 30 appearances in a top-flight English campaign, and that was when he was employed by Southampton in 2013/14. Last season he was absent for over 100 days with a combination of abdominal issues and hamstring complaints, culminating in just 18 appearances for the club’s number six, in all competitions.

Buy some time

The 29-year old has clearly entered the autumn of his career at the highest level and it’s clear Liverpool now have a choice to make. There is a solid argument to cash in now and seek an upgrade.

However, in Lovren, they have a defender who has big game experience and a genuine zeal for the club. Of course, you need more than those things, but they may be able to buy themselves some time if they chose to wait before jettisoning their fourth choice defender. If Lovren can shake off his recent injury malaise and offer his services as a reliable 30-game a season man, then he is not a bad option to have at all.

That could well give Liverpool the thinking space to move for a more moldable, younger option to bring in this summer.

A younger player could be brought in alongside what the club already has and be eased in gradually next season. Jurgen Klopp has also previously favoured this option; giving Fabinho and Andrew Robertson time to adapt and learn his high octane demands in recent years.

Having four good defenders already in situ could well allow their scouts time to unearth another gem as opposed to forking out on a household name from the gossip columns.

The club played a shrewd hand in their acquisitions of Joe Gomez and Andrew Robertson in recent years as they opted against big names and big money recruitment. Keeping Lovren and ignoring the demands to sell, could well prove another shrewd move in the transfer window by Liverpool.

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