The future of reported Liverpool target Neven Subotic looks set to be resolved over the coming days after Borussia Dortmund admitted he has been given permission to discuss terms over a potential move away from the Bundesliga club. The towering centre-back has been at Westfalenstadion since 2008, but is eager to seek pastures new this summer after being restricted to just 11 first-team appearances across all competitions under Thomas Tuchel last term.
Jurgen Klopp is very familiar with Subotic's strengths, having first coached the player during his time in charge at Mainz and later made him one of his first signings at Dortmund after being appointed as successor to Thomas Doll in 2008. The 27-year-old was first linked with a potential move to Merseyside in January and rumours that Liverpool could look to rekindle their interest resurfaced in the Echo last week.
Premier League rivals Stoke City and Sunderland are said to be among Subotic's other suitors, although at this stage it remains to be seen exactly which club has held discussions over a possible deal. The Chronicle report that the ex-United States youth international, who later switched his allegiance to Serbia and won 36 senior caps before walking away from international football in 2013, could be available for as little as €10m (£8.5m, $11m).
Responding to a fan question about when Subotic might join the squad for pre-season training, Dortmund tweeted: "Subotic was released from training to lead negotiations with a potential new club."
Subotic has made 259 appearances during his eight-year spell in North Rhine-Westphalia, winning two German titles in addition to the DFB-Pokal and DFL-Supercup. However, he struggled with a back injury during the first-half of the 2015/16 campaign and did not play a single minute beyond March after being diagnosed with thrombosis in his arm. He lost his starting berth as Tuchel turned to Sokratis Papastathopoulos as a regular partner for captain Mats Hummels, who has since agreed a controversial return to reigning champions Bayern Munich. Dortmund have strengthened their defensive options with the additions of Marc Bartra and Raphael Guerreiro.
"Dear friends, during the last year I realised that my love for the game of football in an active role is too big to just be able to see it from outside," Subotic wrote in a heartfelt Facebook statement to fans last month. "Football is an important part of my life. I love it and I can't be without it.
"I am in the best age for a football player and I want to use my time to improve myself and my team every day. And I want to have the feeling I am needed and I can give everything for my club. That is what I am thinking about. I do not want to earn my money on the bench, but to be a active part of the history like I was until last year. I hope you can understand that. Borussia Dortmund is the club of my heart and it will always be."
Liverpool already have one new centre-back on their books in the form of ex-Schalke stalwart Joel Matip. Kolo Toure has been released at the end of his two-year contract, while Martin Skrtel is on the verge of agreeing a £5.5m switch to Fenerbahce. Mamadou Sakho hopes to be available for the start of the new season after serving a provisional 30-day suspension for a failed drugs test. The French international, who missed out on the Europa League final defeat to Sevilla and Euro 2016 after deciding not to have his B sample tested, argued his case with Uefa's control, ethics and disciplinary body on Thursday (7 July). The issue surrounds a fat-burning substance.