Liverpool: Klopp must battle Chelsea for Romeo Lavia

The Southampton ace is sparking a Premier League transfer battle.

Liverpool are on the brink of making Alexis Mac Allister’s move to Anfield official this week and now a new update has emerged on another transfer target for the Reds.

What’s the latest on Liverpool’s interest in Romeo Lavia?
According to Football Insider, Chelsea have stepped up their pursuit to compete with Liverpool for the signing of Southampton star Romeo Lavia this summer.

As per the report, the West Londoners are preparing a new move to beat Liverpool to the signing of the midfielder after the Reds also registered their interest.

Both clubs will need to meet a fee of up to £50m to be in contention to snap up his services from the relegated side.

Should Liverpool sign Romeo Lavia this summer?
Both Chelsea and Liverpool are in desperate need of reinforcements in midfield this summer and Jurgen Klopp is clearly keen to focus his attention on up-and-coming talent as opposed to more experienced professionals.

The Reds have been strongly linked to and held discussions to sign Kephren Thuram and Kouadio Kone who are both 22 years old, proving that sparking a youthful revolution in the centre of the pitch seems to be the clear intention this summer.

As a result, the signing of Lavia would be a major coup for the Merseyside giants as he is not only a young midfielder that Klopp can mould and develop but already boasts Premier League experience, something the aforementioned French targets do not possess.

Over 29 top-flight appearances, the 19-year-old – hailed an “absolute monster” by Southampton correspondent Benjy Nurick – has tallied up an 86% pass completion rate and completed 68% of his dribble attempts, as well as averaging 47.7 touches, 1.1 interceptions, 2.1 tackles and 4.9 duels won per game, proving that he is a dominant defensive presence.

The Belgian midfielder – who polished his craft in the Manchester City youth academy – has been the recipient of high praise during his first season of playing consistent Premier League football, with Pep Guardiola complimenting his impact on Southampton:

“I am really impressed with what Romeo has done and is doing. We had, and we have, an incredible opinion about him.”

Bearing in mind the youngster’s quality, Lavia could well be Klopp’s next version of fellow teenager Stefan Bajcetic.

Indeed, the Liverpool academy graduate was given the opportunity to compete for a defensive role in the first team this season after impressing in the youth set-up, which led to the Spaniard adding some much-needed energy into the centre of the pitch.

Like Lavia, he boasts excellent defensive attributes, winning 3.1 duels per game and ranking in the top 2% of midfielders in Europe for the number of dribblers he attempted to tackle every 90 minutes, a marker of his keenness to get stuck in.

Should be be acquired, then the Saints ace would be the perfect understudy for Fabinho over the next season as the Brazilian ace has struggled to maintain his own high standards in the deeper midfield role, notably being described as an “old man” by 90min journalist Graeme Bailey.

As a result, if Lavia arrives in the red side of Merseyside it could be exactly what Klopp needs to provide quality competition for the position.

With that being said, it is an exciting and transformative time at Anfield with Klopp on the hunt to build the next generation of success and this ambitious rebuild could be an extremely attractive prospect for a young player like Lavia to become a part of.