John Barnes has told the Sport Review that it could be time for Dejan Lovren to leave Liverpool this summer, amid reports that AC Milan are keen on landing the £25million-rated defender.
Lovren, 29, has been overtaken by both Joe Gomez and Joel Matip in the pecking order at centre-back. It has seen the Croatian star become fourth choice at Anfield, with Virgil van Dijk obviously the club’s first choice.
The former Lyon and Southampton star managed just 18 appearances for Liverpool last season. He has two years remaining on his £100,000-a-week contract, according to Spotrac.
The Times have claimed that Italian side AC Milan want to sign Lovren this summer, with a fee of £25million said to be enough to land the centre-back. Barnes does not want to see Lovren leave, but believes it may be time.
“With Gomez coming back, if Lovren feels that he’s not going to be playing any more and he wants to play first-team football, fine. I quite like him at Liverpool because of course, if players get injured, he can step in,” Lovren said.
“But players think that they want to play first-team football so if he leaves, I’ll have every respect for him, rather than him just staying at Liverpool in the comfort zone. Maybe it is time for him to move on if that’s what he decides.”
Lovren is an excellent defender and though he is certainly capable of the odd mistake, he has proven to be a leader in the Liverpool dressing room and more than willing to come in to the side and perform when needed.
He is the perfect kind of squad player, as he remains a part of the side and feels a togetherness with the rest of the squad. In other cases, players think for themselves and would rather leave to get first-team football.
Lovren has remained at Liverpool despite being out of favour, and perhaps now he would be excused by Liverpool fans if he was to leave.