Liverpool are set to make a new bid for Southampton's Romeo Lavia, while there is increasing optimism that a deal can be agreed for the midfielder.
The Reds saw an offer worth around £37m rejected on Tuesday, as they opened negotiations for their primary defensive midfield target, who has already agreed personal terms.
The Athletic now reports that negotiations between the clubs are ongoing and Liverpool are set to return with a new and improved bid.
While Chelsea are also interested, it is said that there is "an increasing likelihood of a deal being agreed" with Liverpool. The report suggests that add-ons could be used to bring the Reds' offer close to Southampton's valuation — thought to be around £50m.
On Tuesday evening, Lavia played the first half of the Saints' pre-season encounter with Bournemouth at St. Mary's Stadium, where manager Martin faced questions about his player's future.
“I thought Romeo, considering what’s going on, to play tonight and do all that stuff, it was good for him to get on the pitch as he has not had the minutes other people have had," he said.
“You can ask for an update but I can’t give you one because I don’t know. I’m going to speak to Jason (Wilcox) now but I’ve been preparing for this game. I’ll only ever be honest with you guys but I’m yet to find out."
Meanwhile, Belgian transfer reporter Sacha Tavolieri claimed that the Saints want "a fixed fee of £40m", which is comparable to the buyback clause Manchester City negotiated in Lavia's sale last summer.
However, Fabrizio Romano reports that the Reds are 'almost ready' to submit a new formal bid of £42.5m, with add-ons taking the total to £45m.
Understand Liverpool new formal bid for Roméo Lavia is almost ready — around £42.5m guaranteed fee plus £2.5m add ons up to total £45m package 🚨🔴
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 26, 2023
Lavia is expected to replace Fabinho at the base of Liverpool's midfield. However, the 29-year-old Brazilian's transfer to Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad has been thrown into doubt, following a stall in negotiations.
Jordan Henderson's £12m move to Al-Ettifaq, however, appears imminent.