Romeo Lavia has emerged as a strong contender to become Liverpool’s third midfield signing of the summer and he ticks plenty of the boxes required to be a success at Anfield.
No sooner had Szoboszlai been unveiled as a Liverpool player, attention quickly turned to what was next in the middle of the park.
We’re taking a look at some of the key factors which make Lavia the next logical move for the Reds.
Of all of Liverpool’s strongly-touted midfield targets this summer, Lavia is perhaps the most naturally defensive option.
The signings of Mac Allister and Szoboszlai undoubtedly strengthen the No. 8 positions, but the Reds could certainly use an extra option to sit ahead of the back line.
Klopp’s switch to a 3-4-3 system towards the end of last season yielded a positive upturn in form and results, but the Reds may find themselves short of bodies to fill the two defensive slots in the midfield box should the manager persist with that shape.
Lavia presents Liverpool with an ideal solution on the left side of defensive midfield and his profile could make him the ideal understudy to Fabinho as he has time to eventually phase into being the first-choice option.
Age on his side
At just 19 years of age, Lavia could be primed to explode into a top talent and capturing him now could see that process happen on Liverpool’s books.
He has already proven himself to be capable of mixing it with top midfielders and will only continue to improve under Klopp’s stewardship, making him an exciting prospect for fans to get on board with.
His age also means there is limited pressure on his shoulders to make an immediate impact and break into the team straight away, with more of the attention naturally focused on the progress of Mac Allister and Szoboszlai.
Fabinho‘s current contract runs until 2026, meaning that the manager could have a perfect readymade replacement should the club look to recoup a fee for the Brazilian next summer.
Premier League experience
His time with Southampton will stand him in good stead for a step up to Liverpool and gives him an edge over the likes of Thuram, Gravenberch and Veiga.
We have seen on countless occasions how difficult it can be to adapt to the physicality of football in England and Lavia’s position is one which offers little room for error against top sides.
The youngster was a shining light in an ultimately dreadful campaign for the Saints and, even at his young age, is far too good a player to be spending a season in the Championship.
Reports at the beginning of the window suggested that Premier League experience was a priority for the Reds, and while we have strayed away from that stance somewhat in recent weeks it will certainly be a factor the manager will want to consider.
Stop a Man City reunion?
One sneakier positive of obtaining the Belgian’s services could be that it would prevent him from returning to the Etihad next summer.
Should he continue to impress over the next 12 months the teenager will almost certainly pique the interest of Pep Guardiola’s side, but securing his signature in this transfer window would take that option off the table.
Never a bad thing!
Finally, Lavia would be a tick in the box for the seemingly never-ending question around Liverpool’s homegrown quota.
The teenager would not need to be registered within the Reds’ 25-man squad for another three years, but when he does reach the age of 22 the Belgian will still be classed as homegrown due to spending more than three seasons with FA-affiliated clubs.
The Reds have kept themselves close to the Premier League limit of registering 17 non-homegrown players in their squad in recent years and the summer departures of James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain only added to that dilemma.
It is another plus point for Lavia that Liverpool’s other midfield targets cannot boast and could go some way to justifying what is likely to be a hefty financial outlay for such a young player.