Liverpool are set to face competition for top target Romeo Lavia from Premier League sides Chelsea and Arsenal, according to Fabrizio Romano

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Is Romeo Lavia a CDM?

Lavia is a defensive midfielder, and was one of the Premier League's best in the position last season.

The 19-year-old midfielder made 29 league appearances for Southampton last season and scored one goal. The midfielder enjoyed a very positive first campaign in senior football and received praise from treble-winning former coach Pep Guardiola, who said:

"I am really impressed with what Romeo has done and is doing, we had, and we have, an incredible opinion about him. We thought to keep him, but maybe he would not (get) enough minutes like he has in Southampton."

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The midfielder often partnered with captain James Ward-Prowse in the midfield and was the more defensive option for the south coast side who suffered relegation from the top flight. The fully capped international averaged 2.43 tackles per 90, which puts him in the top 30% of all midfielders across Europe's top five leagues, whilst his 7.8 ball recoveries per 90 rank him amongst the top 15 players in the division.

Praised and lauded for his overall quality, The Athletic journalist Jacob Tanswell described his unique quality best, stating in his Southampton Player of the Year article that: "If Romeo Lavia walked under a bucket of water, he would emerge without a splash on his clothes."

Following the Saints relegation, reports emerged that a number of top Premier League sides were interested in bringing the former Manchester City youth product in this window, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea being the three most interested clubs.

Speaking on his YouTube Channel, Romano revealed the state of play regarding Lavia for all three clubs:

"Romeo Lavia is top of the list [for Liverpool], so they want Romeo Lavia, but I’m told that Chelsea is also there so let’s see what’s going to happen with Romeo Lavia. Also, because we know that in case Arsenal sell Thomas Partey to Saudi clubs, this could be a possibility for Arsenal"

Which club should Romeo Lavia join?

Liverpool should really be pushing to secure this Romeo Lavia deal.

Both Jordan Henderson and Fabinho are the subjects of major interest from Saudi Arabian clubs, with the Brazilian having not traveled to the squads training camp in Germany, so he can focus on completing the move. Henderson meanwhile has travelled, but talks between Al-Ettifaq and Liverpool remain ongoing

Should the move to Merseyside materialise for Lavia, there is a real chance that he could be a regular starter, with the only other recognized defensive midfielder at the club being Stefan Bajcetic.

Questions might be asked about if the 19-year-old is ready for the jump up from Southampton to a club the size of Liverpool, but statistically, he compares incredibly well to Brighton's Moises Caicedo, who is a player valued at double the Saints asking price of £50m. Lavia is also a full Belgian international and was a player who was personally identified by Guardiola himself in 2019, all characteristics that suggest the player can not only survive under the pressure but thrive due to it.

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The issue that is currently stopping the move is the gap in valuation, with reports stating that the Reds believe the midfielder is "massively overpriced" at his current valuation of £50m, however, it remains to be seen if the Saints are willing to drop their asking price down due to the situation in the summer of 2024, when Man City's buy-back option can be exercised. Furthermore, when the midfielder completed the move to the South Coast, a sell-on clause of 20% was included in the deal, which may also be a factor in the higher asking price

Should Fabinho and Henderson depart Merseyside this summer however, Liverpool should really consider just paying the fee required to bring in Lavia, as he has all the tools to be a real success on Merseyside