Romeo Lavia looks to be at the top of Liverpool’s list of midfield targets, following the exit of Jordan Henderson. The Athletic report that the Reds are set to improve on their first bid of £37 million. Southampton are believed to want a fee closer to £50 million. The coverage of this transfer suggests it is a matter of when and not if it happens. This will be the second successive summer that the Belgian midfielder has moved if a deal does get agreed.
🚨 Liverpool set to return with improved offer for Romeo Lavia. Southampton rejected ~£37m opening bid as they seek ~£50m package. High chance this deal gets done, although Chelsea retain firm interest. W/ @JamesPearceLFC @TheAthleticFC #SaintsFC #LFC #CFC https://t.co/hXX59PZWrT
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) July 26, 2023
Southampton’s mistake last summer was investing and trusting too much in youth. That isn’t to say they made bad signings, but they got the age profile of their squad wrong. Young players are inconsistent and many of their signings were learning on the job. Although there will be some regrets on the South Coast, one of those will not be Romeo Lavia.
He arrived from Manchester City and immediately looked at home in the middle of the park. It is true to say that there was some inconsistency, but he certainly stood out when Southampton played the top teams. Lavia didn’t look out of place and it seemed inevitable that he would return to Manchester once the buyback clause became active in 2024. However, Southampton’s relegation has opened a window for other Premier League clubs to steal a march on the champions. Arsenal and Chelsea were linked, but Liverpool are now the frontrunners.
The 19-year-old will provide a youthful option in midfield for Jurgen Klopp. Lavia will not need to play every week and he won’t be signed for that purpose, but he will be an excellent squad addition. He played 29 times in the Premier League for Southampton and looked at home in the Premier League. The physical attributes that he has should be a good fit for the way Klopp wants his team to play.
One stat that immediately stands out is Lavia’s pass completion of 86.4%. Considering he was playing in a relegated team, that is a very high percentage and shows how comfortable he is operating in midfield areas. The teenager is press resistant and is good at picking the right pass under pressure.
Lavia averaged 1.13 successful take-ons, ranking him in the 75th percentile among midfielders. This shows how he can beat a man in the middle of the park, creating space to release a pass. Although Southampton’s lack of quality means that Lavia’s stats don’t stand out, he always caught the eye when watching the Saints.
The Premier League is one of the most physical leagues in the world and it can be tough for a teenager to feel comfortable, especially in midfield. Lavia’s transition was almost seamless. He is an active disrupter of the opposition with his pressing and ball-winning ability. The 19-year-old averaged 2.43 tackles and 1.34 interceptions per ninety minutes.
£50 million would be a steep fee for the player that Lavia is now. However, his profile and potential can’t be doubted. If he is given the correct coaching, he could develop into a Champions League calibre player. Klopp’s high-energy system should be the perfect fit for him and he will get the chance to play regularly in the Europa League. There will also be opportunities to play in the league.
There aren’t many more exciting 19-year-olds in world football at the moment. It is not a surprise that Jurgen Klopp wants Romeo Lavia at Anfield.