Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino is plotting moves to improve his squad after the club finished in the bottom half of the Premier League table last term.
The Argentine head coach has been named as the long-term replacement for Graham Potter after Frank Lampard saw out the season on an interim basis, and is reportedly looking to strengthen his options in the middle of the park.
It was recently reported by the Daily Mail that the Blues plan to step up their negotiations with Brighton & Hove Albion to land central midfielder Moises Caicedo this summer.
They stated that the club have already had a £60m offer rejected by the top flight and the Seagulls are hoping to pocket a fee in excess of £80m for the Ecuador international, although it remains to be seen whether Chelsea are willing to match their demands or not.
But with Manchester United now reportedly turning their own attention to Caicedo, Pochettino may be forced to change his plans. It may well prove fruitful if they sign a ‘monster’ – as he was described by journalist Benjy Nurick – in Romeo Lavia from relegated Southampton.
What is Romeo Lavia’s play style?
The Belgian defensive midfielder is a reported transfer target for the Blues, although Arsenal are said to be leading the race for his signature at the moment, and is available for a fee in the region of £50m.
It means the club could buy him for as much as £30m less than the Brighton star, which has the potential to be a stunning move by Chelsea as the Saints youngster is two years younger and has shown great potential in the Premier League.
In the player radar below, provided by Opta, Caicedo clearly excels at winning back possession for his side and Lavia is a player who has shown similar destructive qualities.
These metrics indicate that both players can be defensive anchors for their respective teams in the middle of the park as they are capable of consistently breaking up opposition attacks at Premier League level.
The Southampton star has averaged 3.77 tackles and interceptions per 90 over the last 365 days for his club and this compares well with Brighton’s 4.48 tackles and interceptions over the same period. In maybe not quite as many as Caicedo, but Lavia has won more blocks and made more clearances per 90 than the Ecuadorian.
Therefore, he could well be an excellent alternative to Caicedo as, two years younger than the 21-year-old, he has already proven himself to be a defensive force in English football’s top flight.
Lavia is a proven performer and, at 19, has plenty of time left to develop and improve under Pochettino’s coaching.