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DONE DEAL: Contract Accepted Welcome Robert Lewandowski To Anfield, klopp’s smile for signing Barcelona Best Player 



DONE DEAL: Contract Accepted Welcome Robert Lewandowski To Anfield, klopp’s smile for signing Barcelona Best Player
Chelsea in fierce battle with Liverpool to sign £34m star – report
Chelsea spent £540m on new signings last season, flooding the first-team with defenders, midfielders and forwards, but it appears they’re not slowing down this summer despite the bloated squad. Tom Gott and Graeme Bailey of 90min claim that Chelsea are interested in signing Gabri Veiga, but thy’ll face stiff competition from Liverpool for his signature.

Enzo Fernandez, Denis Zakaria (loan) and Carney Chukwuemeka were brought in to strengthen Chelsea’s engine room last summer, but Fernandez was the only regular in 2022/23. Mauricio Pochettino needs replacements as Chelsea endured a midfield exodus in the last two transfer window opens.

Jorginho was sold to Arsenal, Zakaria returned to Juventus, N’Golo Kante joined Al-Ittihad and Mateo Kovacic joined Manchester City, so the Blues are short of options in a key area. Veiga wouldn’t be a defensive option, however, as he’s far more deadly in the final third of the pitch – the 21-year-old scored 11 goals with four assists from 36 La Liga games last season.

Veiga is a creative player who is comfortable driving from deep in possession, and he’d be a terrific signing for Chelsea. However, 90min says the Blues will face stiff competition for his signature from Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp has signed Alexis MacAllister and Dominic Szoboszlai to bolster his midfield, but the Liverpool boss still wants another midfielder and Veiga is on his radar.

Chelsea and Liverpool could now battle it out over a deal for the Spaniard, but they’ll face further competition with 90min suggesting that the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Man City and Newcastle United are also interested parties.

Veiga rose through the youth ranks to Celta Vigo’s first team in 2022 and has gone on to make 55 appearances in all competitions, having a hand in 15 goals. The 21-year-old, who has represented Spain at U21 level, has three years remaining on his deal at the Estadio de Balaídos, so Celta hold all the cards in negotiations.

Fabrizio Romano said at the end of May that Veiga has a release clause of €40m (£34m), so he won’t break the bank. With so much interest in his signature, however, it might all depend on which club present the best chance of development and success.

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7 players Liverpool could include as “creative formula” in Romeo Lavia deal
Liverpool could look to offer Southampton a swap deal in order to get their next midfield signing over the line.

The Reds may need to find inventive ways to bring Romeo Lavia to Anfield after recent reports indicated that the Saints expect to recoup £50 million for the youngster.

Such a hefty fee is likely to perturb Liverpool, as well as their rivals for the signature, but the latest suggestions are that members of the current squad could be used as a makeweight in a potential deal.

Journalist Fabrizio Romano has hinted that the Reds could use a “creative formula” to secure the Belgian’s signature, adding that some players could move in the other direction to make the transfer happen.

Speaking exclusively to GIVEMESPORT about Liverpool’s pursuit of the player, Romano explained: “For Romeo Lavia, the price tag is around £50million. But sources believe that maybe, with some add-ons or with a creative formula such as including some players, they can find a way with Southampton to reach an agreement.”

It begs the question, which of Liverpool’s current squad members could be used to sweeten the deal with Southampton?

Tyler Morton could be a permanent option for the Saints given that he has typically operated in a similar area of the pitch during his time at Liverpool and on loan at Blackburn.

His season at Ewood Park was cut short by injury but his impressive performances have given indications that he has the potential to develop into a top player in the coming seasons.

Nat Phillips could also make the move to Saint Mary’s, with the defender ready for a new challenge having been restricted to just one Premier League start last season.

A loan move to the south coast for Stefan Bajcetic would make a lot of sense for all parties, with his profile similar to that of Lavia and a temporary switch perhaps being the ideal way to build the Spaniard back up from injury.

The same could be said for Conor Bradley, who enjoyed a successful stint at Bolton in League One and a step up to the Championship could be an ideal move for his development.

Bobby Clark is progressing steadily through Liverpool’s youth ranks and could provide Southampton with a midfield option if they are to lose one of their star men this summer, while Sepp van den Berg could be used to strengthen the Saints’ defence as he recovers from his latest injury setback.

Finally, a wildcard. Jay Spearing could be an unlikely answer as someone who has spent the vast majority of his playing career as a defensive midfielder.

Spearing currently plays for the under-21s and coaches the under-18s, meaning that a loan switch to Southampton would likely be a swansong at the age of 34.

There are both temporary and permanent options available to Liverpool should they attempt to use players as leverage in the Lavia deal.

A potential transfer would likely require some form of compromise, with the current £50 million price tag an extraordinary amount for a 19-year-old, despite his unquestionable talent.
Fabinho in spotlight as Liverpool succession plan with Romeo Lavia hangs in balance
While Liverpool’s summer transfer business has honed in only on midfielders so far, it is someone already at the club who remains the most important player in that department.

The form and fortunes and Fabinho rarely left the discourse last season as the Brazilian’s performances were analysed to the nth degree while the Reds slipped from second to fifth in the Premier League.

Alongside Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho was one of a trio of 2018 additions who were hugely influential in turning Liverpool from top-four challengers to a side who won every major trophy available between the years of 2019 and 2022.

And while Jurgen Klopp admitted years back that both Van Dijk and Alisson – at £75m and £65m, respectively – had to be “slam dunks” at Anfield, Fabinho’s importance grew organically as he established himself as one of the finest defensive screens on the continent during that time.

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The last 12 months, however, has seen his form fluctuate. The sight of him gingerly offering up an apologetic hand to the referee after a short cameo at Brighton in an FA Cup defeat earlier this year encapsulated the general struggles succinctly.

Arriving as a late substitute in a 2-1 defeat, the midfielder was fortunate to remain on the pitch for the five-minute period he was sent on for after a handful of cautionable fouls.

It was a mercifully short lived run-out that appeared to capture his malaise at the time as questions around his long-term suitability as the first-choice ‘No.6’ grew.

One of the elements put forward for the drop in form is the number of games he has played by the age of 29. The former Monaco man is 17 short of reaching 500 matches for his career. For a player who doesn’t turn 30 until late October, that’s a lot of football already behind him.

Only Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah were the outfield players who featured more than Fabinho’s total of 2671 minutes last time out and he dropped down to the 54 percentile for tackles made across the top five European leagues. Interceptions stood at 68% while his clearances and aerial battles won both came in at 65 and blocks fell to 53.

For a defensive midfielder at a club with lofty ambitions like Liverpool, they are key indicators of a significant dip. But despite the alarming slump – and Fabinho was not alone on that front last season – there was an encouraging upturn in the final couple of months for the ex-Real Madrid man.

He started every game of an 11-match unbeaten run between early April and late May and generally looked to offer a much more sturdy level of protection for an overworked backline than previously.

The question is what is the real representation of Fabinho’s current level? The player who struggled at the early and mid-season junctures or the one who looked much more energetic and robust in the final weeks?

With the Brazil international still the most natural and senior of defensive midfielders at Anfield, much of the success for a rebuilt, new-look engine room still rests on the No.3 getting back to the levels enjoyed during his first couple of years with the Reds.

If the 2020/21 campaign can be largely discarded due to its unique behind-closed-doors nature and the fact that he was asked to play as a centre-back more often than not to cover for a lack of fit defenders, Fabinho still had some credit in the bank for his efforts between 2018 and 2020, as well the performances that helped Liverpool win both domestic cups and reach the Champions League final in 2022 alongside 92 Premier League points.

But it is interesting to note that those tasked with recruitment have turned their attentions to a more defensive-minded midfielder following the early-summer captures of Szoboszlai and Mac Allister.

Romeo Lavia of Southampton now heads up that particular shortlist as Liverpool assess their next move. The Belgium international enjoyed a fine season on the south coast individually, despite their relegation, but talk of a £50m price tag has so far yielded little progress.

The interest in Lavia is genuine but the asking price from the Saints would make the teenager the most expensive player to ever leave the Championship and despite interest from elsewhere in the form of Chelsea and Arsenal, the Reds are yet to take the plunge on a player who would rival Fabinho for the final years of the 29-year-old’s time on Merseyside.

“Lavia has good quality and is fairly well experienced having been in the Premier League last season with Southampton so he would be a great signing,” says the legendary John Barnes. “He would help make the squad younger as well as bring the qualities of a good defensive midfield player.”

Manchester City’s 2024 buyback clause, believed to be around £40m, is an element that Liverpool – and other interested parties – are surely wary of but there is no guarantee Pep Guardiola would green light the activation of that clause next year.

So while Liverpool have been proactive and decisive in their swoops for Mac Allister and Szoboszlai so far, there could well be a private feeling behind the scenes that a game of patience could yet bring results on an agreeable sum for Lavia. There is a deal to be done, but only at the right price.

For now, Fabinho’s competition for that No.6 spot in the team will come from another teenager in Stefan Bajcetic, who is cleared to return to training on Saturday as the Reds head back for day one of the summer schedule at the AXA Training Centre.

The Spanish youth international has shown that he can be a viable, long-term option for Klopp in the limited time he’s had with the senior side in his fledgling career, but it is Fabinho, who is beginning to nudge towards ‘veteran’ status who remains best suited to anchor a rejuvenated midfield.

How much he has been reinvigorated himself could define a lot going forward.

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