Romeo Lavia was left out of Southampton’s EFL Cup clash against Gillingham on Tuesday after the Liverpool transfer target took to social media to say he was in good spirits.
Lavia, 19, tops the Reds’ transfer wish list but they have seen three approaches for the talented teenager has been knocked back by the Saints. The South Coast club are in a sound financial situation despite their relegation from the Premier League and are in no need to sell players at discount prices.
Southampton have placed a £50m price tag on their star midfielder, who they believe has lost no value despite the club dropping into the Championship. Other clubs have shown an interest in the talented midfielder, but the Merseyside club are the first to have lodged firm offers – with their third bid, rejected, totalling £46m.
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The Reds have ramped up their interest in Lavia following the departures of captain Jordan Henderson and experienced holding midfielder Fabinho. They have already seen James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Roberto Firmino leave Anfield as free agents this summer.
The Reds have signed Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai from Brighton and RB Leipzig respectively already, but both are attack-minded players and Klopp will be keen to sign at least two more midfielders this summer.
Lavia has now been omitted from Southampton’s squad from their midweek trip to Gillingham in what appears to be a strong hint over his future. The Saints are preparing for the midfielder’s exit, albeit they are holding out for a premium transfer fee.
Earlier on Tuesday, Lavia posted a photo of himself in training alongside the caption: “Good vibes this morning #keepgrinding”
Chelsea have also been monitoring Lavia’s situation and could yet rival Liverpool in a bidding war. Crystal Palace midfielder Cheick Doucoure is greatly admired by Klopp, while the club’s ongoing interest in Ryan Gravenberch well documented – the Dutch international has failed to settle at Bayern Munich since joining from Ajax a year ago.
Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips is also on Liverpool ’s shortlist, but despite his lack of prominence at the Etihad it is unclear if Pep Guardiola would countenance selling him to a direct rival. There is interest in Sofyan Amrabat, but it is believed Manchester United ’s interest in the Moroccan international is more advanced.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has already expressed his concern that there was too much for the club to do in a short space of time as they look to refine their squad ahead of the coming season, which is now less than a week away.
“There are so many things to do,” Klopp said on the We Are Liverpool podcast, which was released late last month. “The transfer window is open. If my day would have 28 hours at the moment it would not be a problem — I could fill them easily!
“With all the things you have to do left and right, my main focus and energy has to go into the training sessions then that’s what I do. Then either side of the sessions I can try to help with other stuff.
The first game of the season is three and a half weeks away. Before that, something has to happen, including in the transfer market. Now it is clear. It will happen. A new player must be added. We want a good team. ”
The Premier League will start on August 12. You can now sign up at a reduced price for 18 months, meaning in the 2023/24 season, you will watch all Premier League competitions.