2R0M429 Southampton's Romeo Lavia during the Premier League match at City Ground, Nottingham. Picture date: Monday May 8, 2023.

Romeo Lavia involved in Southampton friendly despite Liverpool bids

Despite ongoing interest from Liverpool, including a first bid rejected, defensive midfielder Romeo Lavia is still part of Southampton‘s pre-season.

Lavia is the priority target as Jurgen Klopp seeks to find “solutions” in the transfer market, following the sales of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.

Neither exit was planned, but now Liverpool must push forward with a bigger rebuild than even anticipated, having already brought in Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.

Earlier this week, the club saw an initial bid for Lavia, worth £37 million, rejected by Southampton, with This Is Anfield later reporting plans for a second offer.

It had been hoped that a deal could be struck in time for the teenager to fly out to Singapore, where Liverpool are currently based for pre-season.

But, as it stands, Lavia is still in the Southampton squad and part of Russell Martin’s planning for the upcoming campaign in the Championship.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 12, 2023: Southampton's Roméo Lavia during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton FC at Old Trafford. The game ended in a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On Saturday, the Belgian came off the bench in a 1-0 defeat to AZ Alkmaar at St Mary’s that served as the final warmup friendly before the domestic season kicks off against Sheffield Wednesday.

Though Lavia only played 16 minutes against the Dutch outfit, if he was close to a move elsewhere it is unlikely Martin would have afforded him any game time.

Liverpool remain hopeful of signing the 19-year-old in the near future, of course, with personal terms already agreed.

It has been suggested that their next offer would be in the region of £45 million, inclusive of add-ons, with Southampton valuing the player at closer to £50 million.

A compromise is likely to be reached given how close the two parties are, though it seems more realistic the player would join his new team-mates upon their return from Singapore if a transfer is secured.

Southampton's Romeo Lavia celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Tuesday August 30, 2022 (Steven Paston/PA)

Chelsea have also been credited with an interest in Lavia – a player they bid £50 million for a matter of months after his initial move to Southampton from Man City last summer.

But while their pursuit of Brighton‘s Moises Caicedo has so far been fruitless, leading to claims of a pivot to other targets, Saturday saw a £23.5 million deal agreed for Rennes midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu.

Ugochukwu, whose switch has been reported by The Athletic, has a similar profile to Lavia, which could give Liverpool a clear run at Southampton‘s No. 45.

For now, however, he remains with the Saints – though it could be that Saturday was his final outing for the club.