Liverpool are ready to offload Lucas Leiva as they step up their interest in Southampton’s Dejan Lovren, according to reports from The Express.

The Reds are rumoured to have had a £20m offer for the Croatian centre-back – who could be the third big name from the Saints’ first-team for relocate to Anfield, following Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert – rejected over the weekend.

Lovren himself is understood to be ready to go on strike to force a move away from St Mary’s Stadium after just 12 months, but following recent sales the South Coast club are ready to hold out for £25m to make a massive profit on the 24-year-old.

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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is still keen, and is ready to cut Lucas loose to make up the shortfall between the club’ valuations of the defender.

The Brazilian has overcome much adversity in his Merseyside career to become a cult hero with the Kop crowd, but injuries appear to have robbed him of his pace and guile, while Steven Gerrard’s move to a holding role is also a problem.

Added to that, Emre Can has arrived with a reputation as an energetic and promising enforcer.

Napoli are reportedly interested in the 27-year-old, with former Anfield chief Rafa Benitez keen to be reunited with the player he signed in 2007.

The Italians are chasing a loan with a view to a full transfer, but recent problems with Pepe Reina’s spell in Naples may deter Liverpool from agreeing to such terms. Inter Milan are also interested.

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