Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia has snubbed Liverpool in favour of a move to Chelsea, according to reports.
Lavia has been linked with Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal this summer.
The Gunners were only likely to push for the 19-year-old if Thomas Partey was sold, which was never close to materialising.
And while United have turned their attention elsewhere, it has been a straight battle between the Blues and Reds, who played out a 1-1 draw in the Premier League on Sunday.
Both clubs have also been chasing Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, who always preferred a move to Chelsea despite Liverpool having a £115million bid accepted by the Seagulls.
Chelsea won the race for Caicedo and appear to have also beaten Liverpool in the race to sign Lavia from Southampton.
According to The Athletic journalist David Ornstein, the Belgian international ‘has decided to join’ Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Ornstein says Chelsea are ‘expected’ to complete the signing of Lavia for ‘a fee in the region of £50million plus add-ons’.
Liverpool are ‘aware’ of Lavia’s ‘choice’ having had two bids rejected by Southampton.
Unfortunately for the Reds, their reluctance to meet Southampton’s £50m asking price has come back to bite them on the backside after Chelsea swooped in.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s reluctance to initially pay £100m for Caicedo has not screwed them over as the Ecuadorian always preferred a move to Stamford Bridge.
Jurgen Klopp is desperate for a new defensive midfielder after letting Fabinho and Jordan Henderson move to Saudi Arabia. It is not clear where they will go now having missed out on two ideal replacements.
Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano confirmed Ornstein’s report.
Writing on Twitter, the Italian journalist said the deal is close to being completed after Lavia “communicated” to the Saints his decision to join Chelsea.
Romano added that a large part of Lavia’s decision-making process was the fact the Blues made a £50m bid to sign Lavia last August, which was the same summer Southampton signed the player from Manchester City for £12m.
Chelsea were poised to sign Tyler Adams after triggering the £20m relegation release clause in his Leeds United contract.
However, they pulled out at the last minute to fund the signings of Lavia and Caicedo.
This is not an exclusive, but it would be very fair to assume the Reds will now pursue Adams, who is available for a very respectful price.