Chelsea set to complete £88m double signing to take summer spending past £350m

Romeo Lavia during a match against Manchester United.
Romeo Lavia during a match against Manchester United.

Chelsea have agreed a £53m fee with Southampton for Belgian midfielder Romeo Lavia and triggered the £35m release clause of Crystal Palace winger Michael Olise.

The Blues are already the biggest spenders in Europe this summer but they are not done yet, agreeing a fee for Lavia despite sustained interest from Liverpool.

The Reds had a bid of £46m plus add-ons turned down for Lavia last week, meaning that this is the second transfer battle they have lost to Chelsea in the last week, with Moises Caicedo joining the Stamford Bridge club in a £100m deal that could rise to a British record £115m.

Lavia joined Caicedo in making it clear that he preferred Chelsea to Liverpool, which baffles Liverpool fans and ex-players like John Aldridge.

Chelsea will pay an initial £53m for the one-time Belgian international and will be liable for another £5m in add-ons if he is a success.

They have now entirely revamped their midfield in January 2023, with Enzo Fernandez, Caicedo and Lavia arriving for over £250m in total.

France Under-21 international Olise will join them at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea paid his £35m release clause; he claimed 11 assists in the Premier League last season.

Olise was actually on the books of Chelsea (along with Arsenal and Manchester City) as a youth player before breaking through at Reading. He joined Palace for £8.37m two years ago.

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson, whose side made a good start to the new Premier League season with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United, was unsure on Olise’s future when asked recently.

When put to him last week how confident he was of Olise staying, Hodgson told Sky Sports: “No one knows really at this moment in time.

“If there are clubs who are desperately or seriously preparing a bid and tempting him away then he’ll have a decision to make. I can only wait and see if there are clubs who are going to come in and make those bids and tempt him away, and in that situation what decision is he going to make, because he also knows that we are really very keen to keep him here.

“We really believe this is a good place for him and that we can provide him with a very good platform to go forward in his career.

“But unfortunately these matters are totally out of my hands – everything will depend I suppose on what happens in the future.

“You can never be certain as a manager that the players you’ve got, you like and you want are always definitely going to stay because we have a transfer market.

“I can only hope that transfer market doesn’t on this occasion punish us by persuading one of our very, very important key players to move.”

Chelsea have already signed Caicedo, Axel Disasi, Christopher Nkunku, Nicolas Jackson, Lesley Ugochukwu, Angelo Gabriel, Robert Sanchez and Diego Moreira this summer.