Liverpool move ahead of domestic rivals in race for £50m enforcer

Liverpool have reportedly stolen a march on their domestic rivals in the race for one summer transfer target.

According to talkSPORT, the Reds have ‘moved ahead’ of Chelsea in the pursuit of Romeo Lavia, who’s valued at £50m by Southampton, with the Anfield club preparing an opening offer for the 19-year-old.

The Blues’ co-director of recruitment Joe Shields – who previously worked with the Saints – has recommended the Belgian to new Stamford Bridge boss Mauricio Pochettino, but the west Londoners are believed to be turning their focus towards alternative targets.

Arsenal have also been linked with the teenager but are thought to be prioritising deals for the likes of Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber for now.

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While it seems from this report that Liverpool may have an edge on the London duo in the race for Lavia, there’s one significant hurdle which may need to be overcome in order to land the Belgium international, whose average of 2.1 tackles per game last season was bettered by only one player at Anfield (WhoScored).

As reported by Football Insider, the Reds are willing to offer £40m for the player, although Southampton are set to hold out for their aforementioned asking price, while Daily Express journalist Ryan Taylor told GIVEMESPORT that the Merseysiders could ‘formalise their interest’ if the Saints lower their demands.

That said, it’s worth noting how some reports in May claimed Brighton would seek at least £70m for Alexis Mac Allister, with the Argentine eventually joining LFC for just half that figure initially the following month, so there can often be wriggle room for negotiation between clubs.

Jorg Schmadtke could try to sweet-talk the south coast outfit into coming down slightly on their valuation for Lavia, who may well prefer to remain in the Premier League rather than consign himself to a season in the Championship at St Mary’s.

As the transfer deadline draws closer, Southampton might also be willing to alter their asking price and accept an offer in the £40m-£50m bracket so that they can execute their own transfer plans as they seek an immediate top-flight return.

If Liverpool manage to add the Belgian prodigy to their signings of Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai this summer, it’d make for splendid work from the Anfield recruitment team, meeting the need for a midfield overhaul during the off-season.

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