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Manchester City decline option to rival Chelsea in pursuit of £58 million midfielder



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Premier League champions Manchester City rejected the chance to rival Chelsea in their successful pursuit of Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia.

The 19-year-old midfielder left the Etihad Stadium during the summer transfer window of 2022, making the switch to the south coast for an initial fee of £10.5 million and securing a blockbuster move just 12 months on.

Following Southampton’s relegation into the EFL Championship for this season, Lavia has commanded widespread interest from across the Premier League, most recently sparking a war between Chelsea and Liverpool.

However, that was a race for the player’s signature that Manchester City did not engage in, despite their pursuit of a new central midfielder this summer in addition to the arrival of Mateo Kovacic, and despite an agreed invitation to match acceptable offers.

According to the information of Duncan Castles, Manchester City held an option to match any offer Southampton accepted to sell Romeo Lavia this summer, but declined the opportunity to match the guaranteed £53 million fee offered by Chelsea.

Chelsea’s successful hunt for the Belgium international midfielder could reach a sum of £58 million in total, with £5 million in add-ons included in negotiations on top of the aforementioned guaranteed fee.

Manchester City’s hunt for a new midfielder remains ongoing in the background however, as the club target a deal for West Ham United’s Lucas Paqueta in a pursuit that has been intensified by the injury sustained by Kevin De Bruyne.

The Belgium international captain sustained a hamstring injury during the Premier League opener against Burnley last week, and will now undergo surgery in Antwerp which could leave him sidelined until early 2024.

City are also understood to hold a level of interest in RB Leipzig’s Dani Olmo, however the asking price commanded by the Spaniard could be problematic for the Premier League champions at this late stage in the transfer window.