Liverpool have reportedly leapfrogged Chelsea in the race to sign Romeo Lavia in the summer transfer window.
The Southampton midfielder has been linked to both clubs after impressing in his debut season in the Premier League last year.
The Reds have been haggling with the Championship outfit over a transfer fee for weeks, only for Chelsea to register their interest in recent days.
A deal was reportedly ‘close to completion’ after the Blues submitted an offer worth up to £55 million as they continue to spend big in the post-Roman Abramovich era.
It’s not a done deal yet, however. The club still need to convince Lavia to sign on the dotted as it is believed he ‘favours’ a move to west London.
Saints manager Russell Martin revealed at the weekend the transfer is getting closer to completion. “It’s eeking slowly towards a conclusion and I think we have been preparing for life without him for the six weeks we’ve been here so it’s not a massive drama,” he told the Southern Daily Echo.
The capture of Lavia would be a massive boost to Jurgen Klopp after Liverpool missed out on the signing of Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo. The Ecuadorean is set to join Chelsea for a British transfer record fee of £115m.
The German manager watched his side get largely outclassed by Mauricio Pochettino’s men on Sunday during a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, highlighting the need for more midfield reinforcements before the transfer window closes.
However, Klopp insisted that midfield was not the issue at the weekend. “Our defensive problems today had nothing to do with characteristics of the midfielders, they are a bit more offensive but all of these boys can do what we want them to do,” he told Sky Sports.
“We were too deep as a formation and gave the half spaces away. It’s really okay, today didn’t decide where our season will go. let’s be positive, this team deserves so much faith and I am really looking forward to the season.”