Chelsea are reportedly ‘close’ to agreeing a deal to sign Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia.
Lavia is expected to leave the Saints before the summer transfer window slams shut on September 1 and he has been strongly linked with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
The Reds have had two bids rejected for the 19-year-old Belgian with the club’s owners reluctant to meet the Championship club’s £50million asking price.
Chelsea and Liverpool have been going toe to toe for the signatures of Lavia and Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo and it is very unclear where either player will end up.
Brighton told both clubs that the bidding for Caicedo would end on Thursday night and Jurgen Klopp’s side came out on top, having a £110m bid accepted, while the Blues offered £100m.
The Ecuadorian midfielder apparently prefers a move to Stamford Bridge and has not yet agreed personal terms with Liverpool, giving Chelsea hope they can win the race to sign him.
The Caicedo transfer saga has had an effect on Leeds United midfielder Tyler Adams, who was set to join Chelsea but will return to Elland Road after the Premier League club pulled out of the £20m deal to fund a deal to sign the Brighton youngster.
It is all a bit of a mess in truth. You got the impression that whoever did not get Caicedo would then sign Lavia with Adams probably joining Brighton.
However, Chelsea want to sign Caicedo and Lavia, Sky Sports News claims.
The report says Mauricio Pochettino’s side are ‘close to an agreement with Southampton’ with Liverpool still ‘interested’.
Chelsea have been ‘in talks with the Saints on Friday night’ and the Reds are ‘expected to hold more talks’ in the coming days, it is added.
Elsewhere, Belgian journalist Sacha Tavolieri says there is now an agreement in place between Chelsea and Southampton.
The former will pay £50m and a five-year – with a one-year option – is ‘ready’ to sign, Tavolieri says.
A last-ditch bid from Liverpool is not ruled out, however.
With Caicedo very eager to join Chelsea and the Blues now closing in on the signing of Lavia, Liverpool are in danger of ending the transfer window in disastrous fashion.
The Guardian journalist Jacob Steinberg has also reported that Chelsea have agreed to pay £55m to sign Lavia. Barclays, eh?
Speaking on Friday, Southampton manager Russell Martin said Lavia will not play against Norwich City on Saturday following a hectic week of transfer rumours.
“It’s not easy but he trained really well today. He’s not had enough minutes in pre-season.
“I don’t think id ask him to start a game after the minutes he has had and everything that is going on. In these situations, you think back to yourself as a 19 year old.
“How would you cope with that? He’s been great, some days much better than others but there has been so much noise and he is a really top lad and really top player.
“The Romeo situation has been really fluid throughout and other things may happen in the market that influence the situation, we have no control over that.
“Romeo is getting fitter and fitter and trained really well, whether he will be in the squad or not I just don’t know and I can’t give you an answer.”