Southampton are hoping Chelsea’s bid for Romeo Lavia will prompt Liverpool into making an improved offer.

Chelsea have come out of the relative blue to post a £48m bid for Lavia, trumping Liverpool’s previous three proposals. With two clubs now firmly in the running, a bidding war could ensue.

And, striking a slightly cynical tone on Twitter, journalist Ian Doyle suggested that this is exactly what Southampton are looking for.

Romeo Lavia
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

“Strange from Chelsea. Everyone knows how much Southampton want for Lavia, so why not bid that?” Doyle writes.

“It’s almost as if they don’t really want him and want to force Brighton into new talks for Caicedo, while Southampton hope the bid can prompt Liverpool to match their value for Lavia.”

Chelsea force Liverpool’s hand

Although this is a touch cynical from Doyle, you can’t rule it out completely. In football, there are inner workings that we’re almost never privy to.

With former Southampton head of recruitment Joe Shields now at Chelsea, maybe a word has gone in from his ex-employers.

You can see the logic behind it: stick a decent bid in for the player, we won’t reject it straight away, the team who really do want him will be forced to up their own offer.

Romeo Lavia
Photo by Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

In theory, that may sound plausible. But the reality is that Chelsea could also do with a player like Lavia themselves. Although he’s young, the teenager has a really high ceiling. Pep Guardiola called him ‘incredible’ last season [] and he’ll be a great signing for whoever gets him.

In terms of Chelsea, they very much did try and get the Belgian last summer. Having struggled to make progress in talks for Moises Caicedo, Lavia may be seen as a cheaper alternative. So, we definitely wouldn’t take this as read.

Liverpool were going to have to up their bid for Lavia regardless of whether Chelsea got involved or not. The Blues also haven’t hit Saints’ £50m valuation, so the Reds still know what they need to offer in order to get the deal done.

Things have certainly gotten interesting in this one, it’s stick or twist time for Liverpool.

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