Liverpool announced their fifth signing of the summer on Sunday, securing defender Dejan Lovren from Southampton for a £20million fee.
But after the Croatian made clear his desire to leave the South Coast for Merseyside, Southampton accepted Liverpool’s improved bid as Lovren called the move “a dream come true”.
And Reds boss Brendan Rodgers - notoriously unwilling to comment on players until they have been officially signed - has now revealed what drew him towards the 25-year-old centre-back.
He told the press: “I think he’s a really commanding centre-half. I’ve said for a while, certainly since we lost Jamie Carragher that we needed that leadership and he’s a player that gives us that.
“He’s very strong and very commanding, so I was really impressed with him when I saw him at Lyon.
“He went into the Premier League with Southampton, and I know from speaking with the Southampton players he was a big driving force forward, keeping them defensively solid.
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“And he had a very good World Cup. So I think he’s a player that can still improve, still develop, you know he’s mid-twenties, and someone I’m looking forward to working with.”
At Liverpool Lovren will link up with a back line that shipped 50 goals last term, the first defender of the Reds’ five transfer market captures this summer.
With a £20million price-tag, he also becomes the most expensive defender in the club’s history, surpassing the £17.5 million figure paid for Glen Johnson in June 2009.
It remains to be seen who will comprise Rodgers’ first-choice centre-back pairing this season, with a revolving door of Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and Daniel Agger partnering an ever-present Martin Skrtel last term.
But Lovren’s record fee will invite high expectations, and Rodgers’ considerable investment and evaluation of him suggest the Northern Irishman sees the Croatian as a starter.
Rodgers has already stated that Lovren will join the squad on their pre-season tour of America, where the ex-Southampton man should get his first chance to put his talents on display in a Liverpool shirt.
Will Lovren give Liverpool the defensive solidity that was lacking last season?