Chelsea’s new signing Romeo Lavia has revealed the three reasons which persuaded him to join the west London giants.
The Blues have been keen to bolster their midfield options this summer and completed the signing of Lavia for £58million on Friday morning – just days after the capture of Moises Caicedo.
The Belgian international has put pen to paper on a seven-year deal with the west London giants after completing his medical on Thursday, as Mail Sport revealed.
Interest in the former Southampton star has been ongoing throughout the transfer window and it seemed at one stage as though he would be signing for Liverpool.
The Reds were in hot pursuit of the 19-year-old and submitted multiple offers to the Saints, only for Chelsea to swoop in and reach an agreement with the club.
Chelsea have confirmed the signing of Southampton star Romeo Lavia in a deal worth £58m
Mauricio Pochettino’s side sealed the Belgian international’s despite Liverpool’s interest
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And, in his first interview after signing for Chelsea, Lavia revealed the ‘three factors’ which convinced him to join the Blues.
‘I think the project and the ambitions of the club were key factors, but also the history behind it so, these three factors were determining my decision,’ he said.
Lavia also spoke to the club website, after sealing his move, where he said: ‘I’m really happy join Chelsea and be a part of this exciting project. It’s an amazing football club with a great history and I’m really excited to get started.
‘I can’t wait to meet all my new team-mates and build a chemistry together to achieve great things together.’
The 19-year-old will wear the number 45 shirt for the Blues, which is the same number he wore during his one year with Southampton.
The Belgian international also wrote an emotional message to his followers on Friday morning, prior to the official announcement, to bid farewell to the club.
He wrote: ‘To Saints Fans. As I say goodbye, I want to say a big thank you for everything you have given me during my time here. ‘I’ve instantly felt the love from you all despite us not achieving our shared goals.
The Belgian star will wear the No. 45 for Chelsea – the same as he did at Southampton
Lavia confirmed his imminent departure just hours before the club’s official announcement
‘I’ll never forget the belief the club and Saints all around the world showed me and I hope I was able to repay the faith you put in me.
‘I would especially like to thank all my teammates and all staff members within the club involved closely or not for putting your arms around me since the day I walked through the Staplewood Campus and for all the daily work and help behind the scenes making me become a better person, athlete and football player.
‘Good luck this season and I look forward to seeing the club marching back to the Premier League where it belongs very soon! Thank you Saints. Roméo.’
As Mail Sport revealed on Wednesday, the deal includes an additional £5million in add-ons – with Chelsea’s spending under American owner Todd Boehly now on the brink of breaking the £1billion barrier.
The 19-year-old made 34 appearances in all competitions for the Saints during 2022-23
Lavia joined Southampton last season from Manchester City after impressing during his formative years in the academy at the reigning Premier League champions.
Pep Guardiola rejected the buy-back option inserted into his contract at the south coast club but will recoup 20 per cent of the sell-on fee from the deal with Chelsea.
Lavia – a Belgian international – enjoyed a breakthrough year in the English top-flight last season, making 29 Premier League appearances, but was unable to help steer the Saints clear of the drop zone.
His decision to turn down Liverpool means Klopp will now seek alternatives during the remaining days of the transfer window.
Liverpool have turned to other targets after missing out on the former Southampton star
And the Reds have not wasted any time in doing so, as Mail Sport revealed on Wednesday night, as they submitted a surprise £16m bid for Stuttgart’s 30-year-old midfielder Wataru Endo.
Endo, the combative Japan captain, is well known to Liverpool sporting director Jorge Schmadtke and can also play at centre-back. He is due on Merseyside for a medical.
Gravenberch, 21, is open to leaving as he wants to play more regularly. Bayern have so far resisted selling but they are overloaded with midfielders and are under pressure to recoup funds after Harry Kane’s £100m signing.
Liverpool have also asked about Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat plus Cheick Doucoure of Crystal Palace as they consider midfield targets after failing to sign either Caicedo or Lavia.
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