The prodigious Belgian midfielder is the “monster” Klopp needs…
Liverpool remains in negotiations with Southampton for midfielder Romeo Lavia, but to the indignation of the Anfield support, progress is moving at a snail’s pace with the 2023/24 Premier League campaign just one week away.
Who is Liverpool signing this summer?
The summer transfer market started so brightly for the Reds, with Alexis Mac Allister arriving from Brighton & Hove Albion in a £35m deal before Dominik Szoboszlai was captured from RB Leipzig for £60m.
But progress was hampered when Saudi interest led to the departures of industrious midfield duo Fabinho and – captain – Jordan Henderson.
Jurgen Klopp’s side has since seen two bids for Lavia rejected, the second offer, £41m, still some way below Saints’ £50m demand for the precocious engine room machine.
Lavia has been superb since joining Southampton from Manchester City one year ago in a deal potentially rising to £14m, and his performances on the south coast suggest that he boasts every ounce of the quality requisite for success at the very highest level.
The 19-year-old would be a long-term project and the successor to Fabinho’s role as the midfield anchor at Anfield, though given his Premier League displays over the past year there will be confidence at Liverpool that he could hit the ground running.
As per Sofascore, he recorded an average rating of 6.80 in the English top flight, despite the tumult at St. Mary’s Stadium and the discordant and disjointed harmony of Southampton’s squad, resulting in a 20th-placed finish.
If Klopp succeeds in his pursuit, the £38k-per-week ace will be able to slot seamlessly into the Liverpool centre; the words of The Athletic’s Jacob Tanswell corroborate the argument, as he said: in terms of technical quality and tactical understanding, he’s more than ready to go right into that Liverpool midfield.”
It is his innate ease and presence in the No. 6 role that will consequently allow teammates around him to flourish, with his ranking among the top 4% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for blocks per 90, as per FBref, illustrating his tenacity and determination to stifle opposition transitions.
Szoboszlai would certainly benefit from Lavia’s arrival at Anfield, with the 32-cap Hungary captain’s creative capabilities requiring a steel-clad framework behind him to ensure he can effectively contribute to the offensive efforts.
And the £120k-per-week maestro could aid Lavia in his work too, ranking among the top 11% of attacking midfielders and wingers for blocks and the top 13% for clearances per 90.
Szoboszlai recorded an exemplary average rating of 7.42 in the German Bundesliga last season after scoring six goals and supplying eight assists from 28 starting appearances, creating 2.3 key passes per game, averaging 1.5 tackles per match and completing 83% of his passes.
Lavia is the “absolute monster” – as called by journalist Benjy Nurick – that Szoboszlai needs to thrive in the Premier League, while he can also utilise his own dynamism and defensive application to ensure that the workload is not too great for the teenage talent; it could be a partnership for the ages on Merseyside and Liverpool must ensure that they get this one over the line.