Dejan Lovren has traveled with Southampton to Belgium for its preseason tour despite his assertion that he wants to join Liverpool.
The Croatia defender has declared that "my head is already at Liverpool", comments that did not please the Saints' new manager, Ronald Koeman, but the former Feyenoord boss noted on Friday that the 25-year-old is a key player and that he was expecting him to join the squad for the trip even if he could yet leave.
Sources tell Goal UK that the Reds are close to agreeing a deal to sign the center back, but Koeman asserted his authority to bring Lovren to Belgium all the same.
"That [public comment about Liverpool] was not a good thing on his side," the Saints manager told reporters on Friday. "I spoke two times to Dejan. He was very clear about his situation. I said: 'OK, I am the new manager, I want to keep all the players'.
"I would like to keep Dejan in the team because he is an important player in an important position in the team. He has to come back on Sunday."
And that he did, with Southampton posting a photo on the club's official Twitter account Sunday of the en route to Belgium.
Southampton already has sold England trio Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert since the season ended, but Koeman has brought in winger Dusan Tadic and forward Graziano Pelle from Twente and Feyenoord, respectively.