Man Utd have identified a more cost-effective midfield option than Jude Bellingham, Frenkie de Jong and Declan Rice, but Chelsea are sweeping everyone up.
WHEREFORE ART THOU, ROMEO?
Suggesting that Southampton ‘are facing a battle to hold onto’ Romeo Lavia this summer feels like a particular understatement if their likely Premier League relegation is eventually ratified. The teenage midfielder has, aside from a brief time spent under the bus of Nathan Jones, been impressive since moving to St Mary’s from Manchester City for £14m last July.
Less than a year later, Man Utd and Arsenal have joined known admirers Chelsea in keeping an eye on 18-year-old Lavia ahead of a summer transfer window sponsored by interest in some very expensive midfielders.
Lavia could be a cost-effective option in comparison to Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice, players for whom teams will have to complete far more legwork to sign. It might be as simple as waving Premier League football in front of Lavia and a decent wedge in front of Southampton to secure that deal.
The Daily Mail confirm the £40m buyback clause Manchester City possess over their academy product but it only comes into play in the summer of 2024. It does not seem likely that Saints will wait that long to cash in.
It does not seem as though Chelsea will slow down after a record-breaking season of investment. Perhaps – with all due respect to David Datro Fofana – next time Todd Boehly spends a metric f**k-tonne he will set some aside from an actual striker.
That wrong may be righted soon enough, with Dusan Vlahovic ‘shortlisted’ by the Stamford Bridge brass. The Blues are ‘desperate’ to sign a proper centre-forward and the financial… situation… at Juventus, combined with the Serbian’s indifferent form since moving in January 2022, makes him a viable target.
Far more so than Victor Osimhen, who is faring ever so slightly better at Napoli. There is no indication from Football Insider as to how much Juventus might sell Vlahovic for but the 23-year-old has three years remaining on his contract in Turin and the Old Lady signed him for £66.6m, so Chelsea won’t exactly get him on the cheap.
GVARD KNOCK LIFE
And no, Chelsea really won’t be tightening the purse strings just yet. They still want Josko Gvardiol and that fella will cost a fair whack.
Gvardiol almost joined Chelsea in 2022 but the centre-half eventually agreed a new contract with Leipzig. That deal hardly ends any outside interest altogether but it will complicate a transfer, not least because of a £97m release clause which will be active from summer 2024.
That gives Chelsea and other parties a year to procure the Croatian, who also has fans high up at Manchester City and Tottenham. Chelsea nevertheless still lead the race for a player whose desire to play in the Premier League is known.