Neil Jones is expecting Liverpool to submit a third offer for Romeo Lavia in the coming days and is confident they can hit ‘the magic number’ which’ll convince Southampton to sell.
The Reds’ first two bids for the 19-year-old have failed, but they’re not a million miles off the Saints’ valuation for the midfielder, who was left on the bench for the entirety of his team’s win over Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night.
Speaking exclusively to Empire of the Kop’s Substack, the reliable reporter is backing Jurgen Klopp’s side to clinch the Belgian’s signature, as the Championship side will likely realise they need to sell, especially if they risk having a disenchanted player around the squad.
Jones said: “Liverpool have already gone higher than they believed they would, making a second bid worth more than £40m last week, and in truth it doesn’t feel like they would have to go too much further to get a deal done.
“The question is whether they believe Southampton will eventually cave. At this point, they’re standing firm…I expect Liverpool to return with a third offer this week, somewhere closer to £45m, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that turned out to be the magic number.
“I think you always get these kind of suggestions when there are negotiations ongoing, from both sides. I think it’s clear that, when all is said and done, Southampton both want to sell and know they are going to need to. A Championship club can’t have an unhappy £40m/50m asset on its bench, and Lavia wants to move, they know that.”
The journalist added: “I’d be surprised if [Liverpool] walked away now, given how close the second bid is to Southampton’s valuation.”
With the English club season now underway and just three-and-a-half weeks until the transfer window closes, the long-running pursuit of Lavia feels as if it’s approaching its final act.
With Jones insisting that Liverpool aren’t far away from making a bid which’d tempt Southampton into selling, the Reds will probably make one last attempt at signing the midfielder, who from our perspective is set to be the focus of the Saints’ teamsheet for their Carabao Cup clash against Gillingham on Tuesday night.
Although Russell Martin publicly praised the 19-year-old’s attitude in pre-season amid the ongoing speculation, it seemed telling that the Belgian played no part in their win at Hillsborough on Friday.
His inclusion on the bench showed that he was available to feature, and it’d seem rather strange to omit a £50m-rated player for a Championship game for purely tactical reasons.
If Liverpool go back this week with an offer of £45m plus add-ons, you’d surely think that’d be enough to finally persuade Southampton to gratefully accept and, potentially, fund a few signings of their own in the home straight of the summer transfer window.