Premier League • England

Arsenal, Chelsea lead pack for breakout midfielder, though Gunners still fixated on January target

Romeo Lavia, Southampton, February 2023

Fabrizio Romano has confirmed Arsenal and Chelsea have an interest in Romeo Lavia, though the Gunners have remained fixated on a January target.

Lavia has been one of the breakout stars in the league this season. Indeed, despite having never played a Premier League game before this term, he’s hit the ground running.

While he’s only played 19 times in the league, Lavia is developing into one of the finest holding midfielders in England.

That’s caught the eye of some big-name sides. Indeed, Manchester City and Manchester United are both reported to hold an interest in the Southampton man.

More big names in the form of Chelsea and Arsenal have been touted for a move for the midfielder.

Previous reports have suggested that City are the frontrunners to snare Lavia. Indeed, he has a buyback clause in his contract, which would allow the Citizens to sign him for £40million.

Transfer insider Romano has confirmed that clause exists. However, it does not yet put City in as commanding a position as has been reported previously, as it’s not able to be triggered until 2024.

“The buy-back clause for Manchester City is buried into the contract starting from summer 2024, not now. This is the understanding,” Romano said on YouTube.

Arsenal keen but not fully focussed on Lavia

Romano added that “many clubs” are following Lavia at the moment, he confirmed that Arsenal are one of those.

“Other clubs are interested: Arsenal are keeping an eye on the player. So Arsenal are following Romeo Lavia, at the minute still nothing advanced,” he said.

Indeed, the reason he’s not at the top of their shortlist is because they’re still fixated on Moises Caicedo.

Despite the fact the Gunners have had multiple bids turned down for him, and he recently penned a new deal at Brighton, it seems they’re keen to try to get him yet again.

“Arsenal have many options and again, Caicedo remains a target after the discussions they had in the January transfer window,” Romano added.

Chelsea pose threat for Lavia

Romano also confirmed the interest of Chelsea. He mentioned how the Blues had a verbal offer of £50million turned down previously, though they remain keen.

“My understanding is that Chelsea remain interested in Romeo Lavia,” Romano said.

They could have a foot in the door already, in the form of the scout who took Lavia to Southampton.

“Joe Shields is now at Chelsea. From Manchester City to Southampton to Chelsea, he knows the player so well, Chelsea want to sign top talents and he’s highly rated by Chelsea,” Romano added.

Indeed, the scout was at City while Lavia was there, and was a driving force in the Saints signing him. He could well have the same impact at Chelsea which could motivate them to snare the quality midfielder.

With as many top clubs interested in Lavia, there could be a fierce battle for his signature in the summer. That’s likely when sides will want to strike, before City get the chance to snap him up with no competition the following year.

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