Chelsea announced on Friday morning the acquisition of Belgian midfielder Romeo Lavia from Championship team Southampton.
The promising 19-year-old, who had a standout performance last season even as Southampton faced relegation from the Premier League, has committed to a seven-year tenure with Stamford Bridge.
Previously, Liverpool seemed to be the frontrunner in securing Lavia’s services, with Southampton acknowledging an accepted offer from the Anfield side.
However, Chelsea outmaneuvered Liverpool in their bid, similar to their approach with Moises Caicedo from Brighton, driven by a sense that Lavia was inclined towards a move to West London.
Discussing his choice to join Chelsea, Romeo Lavia shared on the club’s official website:
‘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.
‘I think the project and the ambitions of the club were key factors but also the history behind it so these were the three factors determining my decision.
‘It’s a very exciting time and I’ve played against a lot of the players we’ve signed and know how good they are. To join them here is a great feeling.’
Lavia becomes Mauricio Pochettino’s latest summer signing following the likes of Christopher Nkunku, Nicolas Jackson, Robert Sanchez and Caicedo.
The Blues drew 1-1 with Liverpool in their Premier League opener and make the short trip across London to face West Ham this weekend.
Discussing the signing of Lavia, Chelsea co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said: ‘We are very pleased to welcome Romeo to Chelsea.
‘He demonstrated his quality in the Premier League last season at Southampton, showing maturity despite his young age, and is a player we have monitored for some time.