James Pearce admitted he couldn’t believe that negotiations were still ongoing between Liverpool and Southampton for Romeo Lavia, though was quick to point out the flawed logic behind criticism of the club’s talks.
Much fan critique has revolved around the Reds’ patient approach to hitting upon the right valuation, with it noted that exact details around the payment structure meant that the deal is of greater complexity than realised.
“As we sit here now, those discussions and negotiations are still ongoing,” the Athletic reporter told the Walk On podcast.
“It just seems to have dragged on. As we reported on Monday before Liverpool’s final friendly against Darmstadt at Preston, they put in a third bid that had been rejected.
“If you include the add-ons, it was about £46m. Southampton sticking to their guns that the valuation is £50m plus.
“I know a few people have said to me ‘for the sake of £4-5m, what on earth are we doing?’ but I think that’s probably a little too simplistic because it’s also about the structure of the deal.
“We don’t know how much of that £46m Liverpool put in that third bid, how much of it was guaranteed, how much of it was linked to performance-related add-ons, because we know Southampton turned down £50m from Chelsea last year, not long after they actually signed him from Man City.
“They regard Lavia as one of the best young players in the world in his position and are adamant that they won’t budge from that.
“I can’t quite believe we’re still sat here talking about ‘will it happen, or won’t it happen’ and I really hope by that time this podcast goes out that it has happened but at the moment there’s no agreement.”
A fourth bid has since been submitted, though how this has gone down over on the South Coast remains vaguely unclear amid the Championship outfit’s decision to not include the Belgian within their cup squad against Gillingham.
The former Manchester City youngster isn’t cup-tied as a result, as things currently stand, though the upcoming clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge should prove to be motivation enough to finalise a deal.
It still feels like we’d be leaving ourselves a little short in the midfield department, though fortunately a move for a ‘controller’ profile is on the table amid ongoing links with Fluminense’s highly-rated Andre.
Preparing for the potential departure of Thiago Alcantara – the player that best fits this particular mould – wouldn’t be a terrible idea either.
That said, we must pose the question as to whether two young number sixes in the form of Stefan Bajctic and Lavia are considered appropriate cover for the desired ‘destroyer’ role in the squad.
Again, we come to the issue of a lack of quality senior options in the market at a time when Declan Rice and Edson Alvarez have gone to Arsenal and West Ham respectively.
There’s always the bold, and rather expensive, option of Moises Caicedo on the table if Liverpool are prepared to put their money where their mouth is and back the manager ahead of the new season. That just seems like a bit of a pipe dream though, doesn’t it?
Your move, Reds.