Liverpool have had three bids rejected for Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia so far this summer
Liverpool face a race against the clock if they wish to sign Romeo Lavia before the start of the season and then hand the Belgian an immediate debut.
The Reds, who open their campaign away at Chelsea on Sunday 13 August, have seen three bids rejected by Southampton for the 19-year-old so far. The latest was snubbed on Monday, totalling an overall package of £46m, as the Saints continue to hold out for their £50m asking price.
Jurgen Klopp has already added Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai to his midfield ranks this summer as part of a long-awaited engine-room revamp, but remains without a senior holding midfielder following the unexpected exits of both Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to Saudi Arabia. Consequently, their pursuit of Lavia has become more pressing, with the teenager having already been identified as a long-term replacement for their now departed Brazilian.
Lavia was an unused substitute for Southampton’s Championship opener away at Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night, while he was left out of the Saints’ matchday squad entirely for their shock League Cup first round defeat to Gillingham.
Consequently, with negotiations between Liverpool and Southampton ongoing, a St. Mary’s exit remains likely. After all, Saints boss Russell Martin has refused to rule out a departure for the player, though he did admit he doesn’t expect any move to happen before the weekend.
“There needs to be movement that suits us as a club,” Martin told BBC Radio Solent on Tuesday night. “I don’t envisage anything changing between now and the weekend, but it’s football, right, so anything can happen.”
Were something to happen before the start of the Premier League season, the Reds would face a race against time to get Lavia registered so he is eligible to face Chelsea. Despite Liverpool’s Premier League opener falling on Sunday, league rules would require such a transfer to be completed by midday on Friday for Jurgen Klopp to select the midfielder.
Section U.23 of the Premier League rulebook states: “Subject to the provisions of Rule V.1, the deadline for receipt by the board of all duly completed documents required by these rules to effect the registration of a player shall be 12 noon on the last working day before the date of the first league match in which the club making the application intends him to play, save that the international transfer certificate and evidence of eligibility to take up employment in the United Kingdom (in both cases if applicable) may be provided thereafter (but must be provided before the player is eligible to play for a club in a league match).”
Admittedly, as things stand, Liverpool are planning for their Premier League opener without the services of Lavia. Having had three bids rejected already, the Belgian very much remains a Southampton player with no sign of a breakthrough in negotiations just yet.
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Meanwhile, speaking after the Reds’ final pre-season friendly against SV Darmstadt, Klopp conceded he is likely to field a short-term solution to his side’s shortcomings at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s clear in the next six days we have to find a formation for Chelsea and not for the whole season,” the German told LFC TV after the final whistle at Deepdale.
Such a stance would suggest that Klopp isn’t expecting to have Lavia available to feature at Stamford Bridge, even if signed this week, as Liverpool continue to work on such a deal. For that to change, the Reds would need to complete the transfer in the next 48 hours before Friday lunchtime.