Potter gives Chelsea team news update ahead of hosting Everton
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Chelsea have opened talks over a move for Southampton starlet Romeo Lavia as Todd Boehly looks to steal a march on Manchester United for the £50million-rated talent, according to reports. The Blues were linked with the Saints starlet last summer only to fail with their initial approach, but the American billionaire is not giving up in his attempts to capture the highly-rated youngster.
Lavia was linked with a deadline-day move to Chelsea just months after joining the South Coast club from Manchester City for £14m, having arrived in June under Ralph Hasenhuttl. However, Southampton turned down the bid for the midfielder, believed to be in the region of £50m.
Boehly, who has largely stepped back from transfer dealings after appointing Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart as co-sporting directors, is set to revive his attempts to bring in Lavia ahead of the summer transfer window.
According to transfer reporter Sacha Tavolieri, Chelsea held a meeting in Belgium this week with Lavia’s representatives to discuss a potential move. It is claimed that the west London club are ‘intensely pressing’ ahead with negotiations to try and snap up Lavia before other clubs become involved.
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The 19-year-old’s impressive form of late has caught the eye of clubs in the Premier League, not least Belgium head coach Dominico Tedesco, who handed Lavia his first senior call-up to the national team for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Lavia has already shown Chelsea what he is capable of, scoring in the 2-1 win at St Mary’s earlier this season as the Premier League strugglers completed an unlikely double over Graham Potter’s men. That was his only goal of the campaign from his 18 appearances, but he is regarded as a key player under current boss Ruben Selles.
United have been credited with an interest in the central midfielder, while his boyhood club Manchester City would no doubt keep a close eye on any deal as they are believed to have included a sell-on clause when allowing him to leave.
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Chelsea see Lavia as a cheaper alternative to Declan Rice, who is set to spark a bidding war this summer as the West Ham captain is expected to leave.
The Blues remain keen on Rice, 24, but with his asking price likely to exceed £80m, there is value in targeting a younger player of Lavia’s profile, with Boehly looking to tighten the pursestrings after spending £600m on transfers since May last year.
What could be key to any potential deal is whether Southampton preserve their top-flight status, as relegation to the Championship would almost certainly force the club to sell players to reduce their wage bill and cut costs.
And with Chelsea ready to stump up the cash for Lavia, a summer move cannot be ruled out.
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