Manager Russell Martin has confirmed that midfielder Romeo Lavia is close to leaving Southampton as Chelsea and Liverpool battle for his signature.
Southampton’s relegation to the Championship meant it was always likely their top stars would leave. The Saints have already lost right-back Tino Livramento to Newcastle United during the summer. And it seems as though James Ward-Prowse is on the cusp of joining West Ham United.
Mohammed Salisu has signed for Ligue 1 outfit Monaco and Lavia may well be the next departure from St Mary’s.
The 19-year-old spent a year with Manchester City’s youth teams and made two cup appearances for the senior side.
He joined Southampton in July 2022, inking a five-year deal with the south-coast outfit.
However, after 34 appearances in all competitions last term, the Belgium international may have kicked his last ball for the club.
Chelsea and Liverpool are the two clubs involved in the race to acquire his services.
Their pursuit has echoes of Moises Caicedo’s. The pair are hoping to land the Brighton midfielder, with the Blues thought to be ahead in that particular scrap.
And, after it seemed as though Liverpool held all the aces for Lavia, the Stamford Bridge club appear set to usurp the Londoners once again.
Belgian journalist Sacha Tavolieri reported on Friday that Chelsea had met Saints asking price of £50m.
Indeed it was said that they have actually offered close to £55m for the defensive midfielder.
There are obviously plenty of rumours that turn out to be false at this time of year. But it does appear as though the starlet is on his way out of Southampton.
Martin admits Lavia close to exit
Lavia did not feature in Southampton’s opening victory at Sheffield Wednesday.
And he played no part as the men in red and white scored deep in stoppage time to earn a 4-4 draw with Norwich on Saturday.
Fabrizio Romano has given an update on the situation. The Italian transfer journalist took to social media to carry quotes by Martin on the matter.
He said on X/Twitter: “Romeo Lavia, not playing as he’s not in the right frame of mind to play.
“I also believe it’s edging closer to a conclusion.”
The transfer window is still open despite the new season being up and running and many deals are done at the 11th hour.
It appears as though Lavia wants a new challenge and has had his head turned by the prospect of a swift return to the Premier League.
However, it is still unclear whether he will be seen at Stamford Bridge or Anfield when the seemingly inevitable transfer goes through.
Both clubs are in a rebuilding phase after a poor 2022-23 but would offer the Brussels-born youngster a return to the big time.