It has been a dramatic few weeks for Liverpool Football Club. After entering preseason for 2023/24 with two exciting midfield signings, the club has since lost its captain and looks to be losing one of its most experienced players.
Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia has been linked with a possible move to Anfield for several months. With the opening game of the Premier League season just 17 days away, the makeup of the Reds’ midfield is still very much up in the air. According to The Athletic’s transfer king David Ornstein, the West London side ‘retain firm interest’ in Lavia themselves.
Will Lavia be lining up in that crunch fixture on August 13th? And if so, who for?!
On the latest episode of our Journo Insight Show, we spoke to experienced LFC journalist Neil Jones for the latest on Lavia.
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“The landscape shifted, hasn’t it? They need a player a bit more so. Maybe there is an element of, ‘Stop nitpicking over three or four million, just pay it.’
“If he’s the one that you think can become Fabinho’s successor, do it now. Do it now, because that’s how you know if he can swim.
“I think you’re going to be looking at the mid-40s in a deal. I’m sure Southampton will be worked down a little bit from 50 and Liverpool will work a little bit from 40 and we’ll see them meet in the middle.
“The last words of David Ornstein’s tweet are: ‘Chelsea retain firm interest,’ so it just remains to be seen whether they turn that into something. It sounds pretty positive from a Liverpool perspective.
“I think the worry everyone – rightly – has connected with Liverpool is, when it goes well, that’s fine, but two of the last three seasons Liverpool have taken a gamble of that ilk. They took a gamble in the pandemic season by having only three specialist centre-backs.
“Last summer they didn’t get Tchouaméni and they said, ‘No, we can get through’. If it goes well, no one says a word. The weight of evidence is that it’s more likely to go wrong than it is to go right.
“I understand if everything goes perfectly according to plan, Liverpool could have two absolute gems in their midfield, two 19-year-olds. You go, ‘Wow, the future is in good hands, absolutely fine.’
“We could end up in the same position as last year, where all the options – or too many of the options – look imperfect, or they’re injured.
“Liverpool don’t tend to make bids for players that they don’t feel like they’re going to get.
“There are offers – that suggests Liverpool think there’s a good chance that a) the player is going to come and b) that Southampton are going to sell.”
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With an absence of top-class number sixes available on the market, it looks as if Jürgen Klopp will be showing his faith in youth once again. Liverpool are in desperate need of reinforcements in the centre of midfield after this summer’s remarkable turn of events. Should Lavia sign and slot straight into the Reds’ first eleven, the decision could look like a masterstroke. The Saints midfielder has a buy-back clause with Manchester City, so signing him could prevent our modern-day rivals getting their hands on a future star. Players such as Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard were trusted with the responsibility of first-team football from a young age. A partnership between Lavia and Stefan Bajčetić could take the team to glory for many years to come. If an experienced midfielder is not brought in alongside Lavia, that does represent another gamble from the Liverpool brains trust.