Editor’s Column: Liverpool right to not pay ridiculous Southampton and Chelsea price-tags

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In a world where World Cup-winning midfielder Alexis Mac Allister can be bought for £35m, there is no way on planet Earth Liverpool should shell out an extra £15m to sign Romeo Lavia, he of one single relegated Premier League season.

Last week, Melissa Reddy of Sky Sports told us Southampton are confident of receiving £50m for 19-year-old Lavia, with Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal all keen on the talented youngster.

£50m, even in this day and age, is a huge sum. More than Mac Allister, but a similar sum to that Manchester United paid for Champions League-winning England international Mason Mount, or Newcastle for Serie A-winning Italy international Sandro Tonali. It’s £10m more than relegated James Maddison, who joined Spurs for £40m, having scored 28 goals from midfield in the past two seasons.

Lavia did well in a very bad team. But his team still lost and he is still very raw. On the final day of the season, he literally passed the ball to Diogo Jota to score in our bizarre 4-4 draw at St. Mary’s. Imagine the fallout had Jordan Henderson or Fabinho made such a horrible error.

He is definitely a promising midfielder, but £50m should be the price-tag if he maximizes his potential, not the fee after he’s relegated in his first full season. Liverpool don’t want to pay it and rightly so; it’s farcical.

This might seem overly harsh on a teenager, but I’m just not sure he fits the profile of the long-term Fabinho replacement. Lavia is not tall and is currently poor in the air, meaning he would struggle to win any aerial duels in that crucial deep-lying midfield spot. His ability to win the ball is impressive and he’s got nice feet, but £50m? Not yet, especially given we’ve got Stefan Bajcetic coming through who is just as talented.

Transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano has hinted that unless Southampton drop the asking price, Liverpool may be tempted into moving elsewhere.

“Romeo Lavia – At the moment this is still not something imminent,” Romano told CaughtOffside.

“Liverpool are discussing internally about Lavia, no official bid has been submitted yet. And also no decision has been made on the price.

“So, Lavia remains on the Reds’ list, and, honestly, I think Lavia would be a fantastic signing. He’s a top talent, it’s not easy to find that kind of player on the market, so I don’t know if they have alternatives at this stage.”

It might well be that the Lavia interest is a smokescreen for another midfield target. We kept on hearing about Kephren Thuram until Dominic Szoboszlai was signed a few days after hearing his name mentioned – which is often the case with Liverpool transfers. The endless sagas never come off (Jude Bellingham), but Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz and Szoboszlai come straight through the door, seemingly without any hassle.

Having signed two attacking midfielders for the advanced no.8 roles, it’s definitely an anchorman we need; someone to support Trent Alexander-Arnold in the double-pivot. Fabinho, Henderson, Bajcetic, and Thiago are options for this position, so we’re not understaffed here, but the four in question are either over the hill or at the bottom of it.

Instead of another midfielder, it’s defence where we really need a new player, especially given the emergence of Curtis Jones as a genuine starting option. Virgil van Dijk is aging and there are doubts surrounding Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, while Trent sees himself in midfield going forward – and rightly so.

Levi Colwill has been named a target and according to 90min, Jurgen Klopp reckons he can lure the Chelsea centre-back to Anfield.

Obviously, Chelsea will ask an astronomical fee for a young English prospect they want to keep, which is within their right. Colwill was arguably England’s best player at the U21 Euros just gone and given the prices they’ve sold players they wanted to sell this summer, you can only imagine the sum required to buy the 20-year-old.

Colwill though has only made 17 career Premier League starts, so surely Liverpool cannot fork out anything above £40m for someone with so little experience – although Chelsea insist the player isn’t for sale anyway.

We do need a centre-back, but we need to move more smartly to find some value in the market.

Liverpool have spent £95m so far on two players, but if that was our work for the summer done, we’d still be very undercooked at the back. In an ideal world, a versatile defender and a young anchorman sign before August, but it’s quite right that the Reds and sporting director Jorge Schmadtke are not being held to ransom by selling clubs chancing it.

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  1. You don’t have to pay £50 million….you just don’t buy him!

    Watched every game last year, he is comparable to Van Dyke, in stature. We will be delighted to keep him, or more likely sell for £50 million to Chelsea.

    You underestimate the quality of this guy, and will lose out if you try chipping the price down, its not what its about, this guy is special, he will be World Class, and you either ‘Pay Up or Shut Up! Simples.

  2. Everybody knows the prices quoted are hugely inflated. Because if Lavia is valued at £50m by Soton, Bajcetic is worth £80m.

    Reality is that you can basically halve the quoted prices and you will be closer to the actual value of the player. SoTON priced JWP at £40m and have been offered £20m from a PL club, which shows this perfectly. £50m for a Fabinho back up / future replacement is not happening. Equally Chelsea and Arsenal are not going to pay that for a player that won’t start for them.

    1. That’s the price of the players and if you don’t want to pay it then you don’t have to, why should a club reduce the price just because you want them to. Would you drop the price of something you were selling by half just because the buyer said you should?

      1. There is always a correlation between asking prices and what the market is willing to pay. If SOTM find a fool to pay for barely a prospect at this time such monies, good for them, as they say, it’s not a fool he who asks but he who pays, however, i doubt that anyone would actually pay £50 mil for Lavia! Only if this total would be loaded with incentives.
        Same for Colwill.. again, promising, maybe he will be become a top CB, but so far he has played a handful of PL games for a non-top5, albeit good, team.. and Chelsea are right to want to hang on to him knowing they paid 65 mil for Fofana and he hasn’t set the world on fire.. most likely Colwill doesn’t move this summer and Liverpool are better off paying £30 mil for Peer Schuurs, has size, experience in the first Italian league, should have a great understanding with VVD as a countryman, 23 yo, clearly better option than either Gomez or Matip! If budget is tight we can place confidence for DM in Bajcetic to see how he develops this year and rather focus on getting also a quality RB in Pavard from Bayern, tried and tested, real solid defensive option, also good going forward, has size, good age. Super experienced. Allows Trent to go forward as MF or simply sit when too tired or a bit off, for a game or two.

  3. We are not going to sell him, if the price is not meant, we dont have to sell!

    Clubs like Liverpool, need to understand, that we are not just there to feed you players.

    Your argument about JWP is poor,, trust me West Ham will not be buying him for £20 million either, its a ‘Try On’ that has only been communicated by people trying to drive down prices, it won’t work!

    If you are right, we look forward to keeping them both, if not, we will have circa £80 million in the bank!

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