Liverpool explode towards £35m signing as Klopp plays ace card to hijack Chelsea transfer and infuriate Pochettino

Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia

Liverpool have burst into pole position for the signing of Romeo Lavia after dramatically overtaking Chelsea in the chase to sign the relegated Southampton star.

Lavia moved to St Mary’s in a bargain £12m move from Manchester City last summer, featuring in 34 games across all competitions. And while he was one of a few bright sparks over the season, he could not prevent Saints finishing bottom of the table with just six wins from 38 games.

However, the teenager very much caught the eye and appears unlikely to play any part in Southampton’s push for promotion in 2023/24.

Indeed, his performances have already seen him earn a first senior cap for Belgium. And so highly-rated was he at previous club City, that Pep Guardiola insisted on a £40m buy-back clause in the deal that took him to St Mary’s.

That clause, though, does not become active until summer 2024. And with Southampton open to his sale in the wake of relegation, they are looking to make a handsome profit on their investment.

Per reports, Chelsea are strongly looking to bring the 19-year-old to Stamford Bridge. The Blues said goodbye to Jorginho in January with Enzo Fernandez signing as his replacement in a £106.7m deal.

Now new manager Mauricio Pochettino is also allowing Matteo Kovacic to depart the club too. Talks over a move to Manchester City are accelerating, though Manchester United could yet step in and beat them to his signing.

Pochettino also faces the prospect of losing the hugely-popular N’Golo Kante. The World Cup winner is a free agent this summer and looks poised to seal a lucrative move overseas.

READ MOREChelsea schedule urgent Pochettino talks with midfielder after offer to mimic Cristiano Ronaldo

Liverpool nudge Chelsea aside in race for Romeo Lavia

The Blues do, though, look well placed to sign Uruguay midfielder Manuel Ugarte as a replacement for Kovacic. He has reportedly agreed personal terms over a lucrative contract at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea do still need to finalise a payment schedule with Sporting Lisbon, however. But for all intents and purposes, Ugarte looks well placed to become the first signing of the Pochettino era at SW6.

Following that deal, Pochettino was reportedly keen to turn his focus towards Lavia.

However, with an approach yet to be made, Liverpool have reportedly exploded into pole position.

And according to Football Insider, the Reds have already registered their interest with Saints.

They report that Jurgen Klopp is making Lavia a prime target to boost their midfield.

And the teenager is reportedly viewed by Klopp as an ideal long-term replacement for the fading Fabinho in defensive midfield.

Valued at around £35m, Liverpool are reportedly advancing in the transfer race. And it’s reported they are ‘working behind the scenes on his signing’.

As such, a move to Liverpool is now regarded as the most likely outcome for Lavia.

Klopp has also reportedly told Lavia he can soon become a regular at Anfield. With James Milner and Naby Keita among leaving, Lavia looks to have an obvious route into their midfield.

Fabinho also looks past his best judging on this season’s performances. Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are also the wrong side of 30. As a result, Klopp is seemingly selling the move by informing Lavia he can be the future of their midfield.

As a result, Liverpool will hope to quickly wrap up his signing alongside another prospective deal in Alexis Mac Allister.

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