Roma are set to battle it out with Liverpool for the summer acquisition of Southampton centre-half Dejan Lovren, according to fresh reports in Italy.
Il Messaggaro claims the Serie A side are likely to firm up their interest in the 24-year-old with a bid if they fail to persuade defender Mehdi Benatia to stay at the club.
The Morocco international is the subject of a transfer tug-of-war between Bayern Munich and Manchester City, with the Bundesliga champions failing with a £26million bid, claims the report.
Should one of Benatia’s suitors meet Roma’s valuation – which is believed to be in excess of £40m – the club will move for his replacement.
Lovren features on a star-studded shortlist compiled by sporting director Walter Sabatini, which includes the likes of Porto star Eliaquim Mangala and Lille’s Marko Basa.
A source close to Liverpool told Football Express News they continue to monitor Lovren’s situation on the south coast after being impressed by his consistently good form in the 2013-14 campaign.
The club insider revealed the Reds are determined to strengthen the heart of their backline before next season and he features high on their wishlist despite the prospect of a bidding war with Roma.
A City source earlier informed FEN that Benatia remains a priority target and a bid could be made in the coming weeks.