Romeo Lavia’s transfer decision should be crystal clear amid £50m Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool interest
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There’s nothing quite like keeping tabs on recently relegated clubs and how many of their former Premier League opponents will be raiding their ranks this transfer window. Southampton’s Roméo Lavia is a name being heavily linked to a jump back up to the top flight, and he isn’t short of options to consider either.
The Belgian still has four years left on his deal with the south coast outfit, but following the Saints’ disappointing 2022/23 season and their relegation to the Championship, all signs are now pointing towards a summer exit. Three Premier League clubs are in the running for Lavia and we’ve taken a look at where could be the best destination for him.
Stay at Southampton
This seems to be the least likely option for Lavia next season. Not only is he looking for a return to top flight football, but there are far too many interested parties for Southampton to ignore. The Belgian only joined the Saints last summer but an exit looks almost definite following their relegation.
Plus, Southampton have slapped a tidy £45 million price tag on Lavia, and that’s apparently the minimum they will accept for him. So not only would the midfielder benefit from a transfer this summer but the Saints will pocket a handsome profit themselves after paying an initial £10.5 million for him in July 2022.
There is also no guarantee that Southampton will immediately gain promotion either. Not only will they be fighting against Leicester City and Leeds United to return to the Premier League, but plenty of other candidates are more than capable of earning their place.
So, we’ve ruled out staying at St Mary’s as an option for the highly-sought after midfielder, but where is Lavia likely to move to and more importantly, which club would be the best fit for both parties?
With Chelsea’s history of splashing the cash, it’s no surprise they’re in the running to snap up Lavia. It’s even less surprising when you take into account the Blues’ disastrous run in the Premier League, which goes down in the club’s history as their worst ever finish after picking up just 44 points.
Chelsea falling astronomically far from competing with their usual rivals up at the top end of the table will have certainly dashed their curb appeal on the transfer market. For players seeking silverware, their first choice probably won’t be the west Londoners right now. There is also the small matter of Chelsea needing to move a large amount of players on before they commit to any new signings.
Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount, N’Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mateo Kovacic and more are all headed for the Stamford Bridge exit this summer, which will free up a lot of space in midfield for a new recruit. However, with this new team still clearly in a transition period and other clubs in the running, it’s hard to see Lavia opting for a Chelsea move over his other options.
Jurgen Klopp is currently spearheading a huge midfield revamp at Liverpool as he looks to leave the disappointment of the 2022/23 season behind him. After confirming James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Naby Keïta would be leaving Anfield at the end of the month, the Reds wasted no time in bringing in reinforcements.
World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister became Liverpool’s first signing of the summer after a lengthy pursuit of his signature. Klopp and his team certainly have the lure to bring high quality players to Merseyside and they will undoubtedly be an attractive destination for Lavia.
Liverpool being a club with rich history, and surely set to challenge for silverware again next season, plus their need for new midfielders makes this a match made in heaven, doesn’t it? We’d almost be saying yes if it wasn’t for the likes of Stefan Bajcetic and Curtis Jones.
Bajcetic was unable to unleash his full potential last season as he was forced onto the sidelines due to injury. But there’s a lot of excitement around him and what he can bring to this Liverpool side. Jones has also been impressing and there’s a good chance Klopp could opt to integrate both young midfielders into the mix a lot more next season. There is also Jordan Henderson, Thiago, Harvey Elliott, and Fabinho to consider too, as well as new signing Mac Allister.
This all means that Lavia would probably have limited time on the pitch and would often be in rotation, which certainly works for Liverpool. But if it’s regular starts the Southampton man is looking for, Anfield might not be the right fit.
Now, Arsenal also have some pretty solid midfield options already and they are edging closer to signing Declan Rice as well. However, their appeal as last season’s title challengers may edge the decision for Lavia.
We all know the Gunners fell agonisingly short of the mark, despite looking as though they were running away with the trophy at one point. No one will be beating themselves up more over the disappointing finish than the players and Mikel Arteta himself. This is where they must make the most of the transfer window.
Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka are both set to leave the club, which frees up some room in the midfield, but the presence of Jorginho cannot be ignored. And let’s face it, no club is going to break the bank to sign a player like Rice just to keep him on the bench most of the time.
Lavia’s best bet would be to challenge Jorginho for that defensive midfield spot and see if his efforts earn him a start next season. If that doesn’t work, the Italian’s current contract is due to expire next summer. So, if Lavia does play second fiddle for the first year and Jorginho moves on, his chances of becoming a Arteta’s first choice will increase considerably.
Providing these clubs are all willing to pay his fee, Lavia has a big decision to make ahead of what is shaping up to be the most exciting summer of his career yet.