Liverpool have seen their opening bid for Southampton 19-year-old holding midfielder Roméo Lavia rejected and are expected to return with an improved offer as they seek to find an acceptable middle ground with the relegated club.
The player’s possible—and possibly even likely at this stage—transfer to Liverpool, though, is something of an open secret at this point, leading to Saints manager Russell Martin having to answer questions about the player’s future.
“We’re a club that has been relegated and has a lot of talent,” Martin said following Tuesday’s night’s pre-season defeat to Bournemouth. “There’s no guarantee that anyone will leave, so we have to prepare as if they will be here.
“I thought Romeo, considering what’s going on, to play tonight and do all that stuff, it was good for him to get on the pitch as he has not had the minutes others have. You can ask for an update but I can’t give one because I don’t know.”
Liverpool’s opening bid for the player was believed to rise to £37M with add-ons, with some speculation a compromise between that number and Southampton’s £50M valuation could be found—possibly in the neighbourhood of £40-43M.
Meanwhile, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is nearing the completion of his move to join Steven Gerrard at Al-Ettifaq while Fabinho’s £40M move to Al-Ittihad is at risk of falling through and the Brazilian could yet remain at Anfield.
“Romeo has a lot in his head,” Martin added. “The news is very public, he may still be here he may not. The easiest thing to do would be to not play tonight, as it’s not easy for a young player to handle the noise, but he’s handled it well.”