With talks continuing to stall over a deal to sign Romeo Lavia, Liverpool look to be facing Premier League competition for the midfielder’s signature.
The Reds have pursued the Southampton midfielder throughout the summer and have had three bids rejected so far, the third of which being worth up to £46 million.
Lavia was not included in the Saints’ matchday squad for their EFL Cup clash against Gillingham on Tuesday, with reports indicating that he was hoping to complete a move to Anfield imminently.
Southampton look to be standing firm on their £50 million valuation of the player, but Chelsea have now entered the frame with The Athletic’s David Ornstein reporting that a £48 million offer was submitted on Wednesday night.
Chelsea themselves have been embroiled in a lengthy pursuit of Brighton’s Moises Caicedo this summer, with the Guardian now reporting that Mauricio Pochettino’s side are hopeful of bringing both midfielders to Stamford Bridge this summer.
It leaves Liverpool needing a quick response if they are to secure the Belgian this summer, with a very real risk emerging that he could now move to a Premier League rival.
The slow progression of the negotiations has provided Chelsea with the encouragement to make their move, with the Blues seeing Lavia as an option on top of Caicedo rather than as an alternative.
The competition for Lavia’s signature comes as a blow to the Reds, who are still without a recognised defensive midfielder in the squad following Fabinho’s departure last month.
It could of course be a case of Chelsea attempting to force Brighton‘s hand in their pursuit of Caicedo by giving an impression of seeking other options, with big money moves for both midfielders representing a lot of business to do in August.
Liverpool travel to Chelsea this Sunday for the opening game of their Premier League season having signed just two midfielders in the transfer window so far and with James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson all having moved on.
Whether Liverpool are able to complete a deal for Lavia remains to be seen, but the manner with which negotiations have stalled has left the squad short and appear to have elicited interest from elsewhere.