Arsenal and Chelsea could have the advantage over Manchester City in the race for Southampton’s Romeo Lavia, thanks to Manchester City themselves.
Lavia was sold to St Mary’s from the Etihad before the start of this current season for a reported fee of £14m, with the youngster looking to develop with regular gametime away from the Citizens.
The 19-year-old Belgian has featured 18 times in the Premier League for Southampton so far this campaign, contributing one goal and being a regular fixture in a side that are looking to avoid relegation to the Championship.
Lavia is wanted by a host of Premier League clubs, who could pounce to seal a deal if Southampton are relegated from the top flight this season.
Also retaining an interest is the 19-year-old’s former club Manchester City, who have the ability to activate Lavia’s release clause which is understood to be set in the region of £40million.
However, it has since emerged this particular clause – one of a number embedded into the contract – will not be valid this summer, as it only comes into effect in 2024.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano explained Arsenal’s interest and City’s time-limited agreement: “Romeo Lavia is attracting very important interest because he’s a top talented midfielder. Many clubs are following the situation.
“Let me say one thing; the buy-back clause for Manchester City is valid into the contract starting summer 2024. So, not now. This is the understanding. And so this is why Man City don’t have full control for Romeo Lavia this upcoming summer.”
Romano continued, “And so, other clubs are interested. Arsenal are keeping an eye on the player. Arsenal are following Romeo Lavia, but at the moment, there is still nothing advanced. Arsenal have many options.
“I also wanted to add Chelsea, because on deadline day (last summer) made an important bid – a really important bid – for Romeo Lavia, it was close to £50 million. It was a verbal proposal when they were looking for a midfielder. My understanding is that Chelsea remain interested in Romeo Lavia, and he is highly-rated by Chelsea.
“So keep an eye on Romeo Lavia, because he will be one of the big names of the summer.”
This hands both Arsenal and Chelsea an advantage in the race to sign the highly-rated midfielder, as both can act early and tempt Saints into a sale before City claim that overriding control.
The report shared on Twitter gathered a number of replies from a wide range of Man City supporters.
@Bruynetime: “So we won’t get him then as Southampton will 100% sell when they go down.”
@aurorables: “Chelsea will buy him before then….”
@luwanka21: “Southampton will get mad offers for him, we aint getting him back”
@ame54367: “He is gone to Chelsea then”
@ffsBlues: “We lost the battle on that deal. #ThanksTxiki again. ”
@MCFCNavii: “So someone could sign him this summer and we wouldn’t be able to do anything about it?”
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