‘As it stands…’ – Journalist drops promising Liverpool claim on £40m starlet set for summer exit

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Liverpool have been named as the ‘closest’ club to signing Southampton’s teenage talent Romeo Lavia this summer by a Belgian journalist.

Sacha Tavolieri was speaking on The Redmen TV‘s Transfer Insight show when he discussed the 19-year-old, who he claimed is certain to leave St Mary’s after the Saints’ relegation from the Premier League.

The transfer insider had told LFC Transfer Room last week that the midfielder’s agent met with the Merseyside club, who it now seems are in the strongest position to give the youngster a fresh lease of top-flight life.

Manchester City inserted a £40m buyback clause into the deal to sell Lavia to the south coast last year, although this doesn’t become active until 2024 (Fabrizio Romano), and it seems they mightn’t even be interested in utilising it.

Tavolieri said of the Belgian on the Transfer Insight show: “He is one of the big players who has shown his talents and abilities this season, so he won’t be part of the project of Southampton in the Championship, that I can assure you.

“As it stands Liverpool are the closest club [to signing Lavia], at the moment there’s no real sign from Guardiola that he wants him back. It looks like Manchester are waiting to see what happens with [Ilkay] Gündogan before they decide what they want to do with Lavia.”

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The Belgium international has been a rare shining light in a truly dismal season for Southampton, standing out as one of the relegated club’s better players.

As per WhoScored, he’s averaged two tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game in a defensive midfield role for the Saints, also proving to be a tricky opponent on the ball by drawing 1.7 fouls per match.

He’s also started 24 Premier League games this term, accruing valuable top-flight experience which may help him to stay in the division even if his current side aren’t.

However, whether Liverpool would pay £40m for a player with only one season of prolonged senior exposure is questionable, especially with the Reds being so strongly linked with other, more proven campaigners such as Alexis Mac Allister, Mason Mount and Manuel Ugarte.

Plus, Lavia coming to Anfield could be detrimental to the progress of Stefan Bajcetic, who had been starting regularly before his season-ending injury but may find it more difficult to get into the team if the Belgian is signed from Southampton, particularly if other midfielders are also recruited.

Nonetheless, Jurgen Klopp would be getting a precocious youngster in the Saints gem, and Tavolieri’s update is a promising one in thar regard.

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