Chelsea have finalised the signing of midfielder Romeo Lavia from Southampton for a reported £53million and the fee for the 19-year-old could rise to £58m.
The teenager, who has only played 29 times in the Premier League, has penned a seven-year contract having made clear earlier this week his desire to move to Stamford Bridge over Premier League rivals Liverpool, who also had a bid accepted by Southampton.
Chelsea have now spent more than £350m during this transfer window (with add-ons taken into account). Though it is worth noting that this spend has been significantly offset by fees received for player sales.
Lavia told the club’s website: “I can’t wait to meet all my new team-mates and build a chemistry together to achieve great things together.”
When asked why he decided to join Chelsea, he added: “I think the project and the ambitions of the club were two factors, but also the history of it, so these three factors determined my decision. I spoke to Wesley Fofana. He’s a good friend of mine. It seems to be a dressing room with a great vibe and I just want to be a part of it.
“I think we are all young and good players, so I think it will be good to make each other better, and that’s the only way to succeed.”
On Mauricio Pochettino. “He is a great manager. We all know what he’s done before and when I spoke to him, it was pretty clear what he wanted and the direction he wanted to the team to go. I was really pleased to hear what he wanted and his energy matched with mine.”
Lavia, who made his Belgium debut in a friendly win against Germany in March, will likely compete with Enzo Fernandez and fellow new-signing Moises Caicedo – the two most expensive players in English transfer history – for a starting place in Mauricio Pochettino’s midfield.
Chelsea broke that record for the second time in eight months on Monday with the capture of Caicedo from Brighton for an initial £100m, possibly rising to £115, eclipsing the £106m they paid Benfica for Fernandez in January.
Co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said: “We are very pleased to welcome Romeo to Chelsea.
“He demonstrated his quality in the Premier League last season at Southampton, showing maturity despite his young age, and is a player we have monitored for some time.”
The PA news agency understands that a deal is yet to be agreed with Newcastle for defender Lewis Hall, though a move for the 18-year-old is close.
Hall signed a new six-year contract with the club just days ago and was set to spent the season on loan at Crystal Palace but Newcastle’s offer, believed to be £28m, has persuaded the club to reconsider.
As an academy product, any sale would be recorded as pure profit in Chelsea’s books as they look to remain within Financial Fair Play rules following a total transfer outlay over the last year in excess of £900m.
A deal had also been agreed with Palace for the transfer of winger Michael Olise after the club met his £35m release clause, but the France Under-21 international has opted to remain at Selhurst Park and signed a new four-year contact on Thursday.