Southampton make decision on Romeo Lavia ahead of EFL Cup game

Romeo Lavia is not expected to be part of Southampton's squad for Tuesday night's EFL Cup tie with Gillingham.

Liverpool saw a third bid rejected this week, with reports claiming an offer of around £45m including add-ons was knocked back by the Saints who are playing hardball over the valuation of the midfielder.

While it has been widely reported that Southampton are seeking £50m for the 19-year-old Belgian, Paul Joyce of the Times wrote on Monday that Southampton are seeking offers above that threshold, amid talk of interest from a variety of clubs including Chelsea and Manchester United.

The Reds are now perilously close to starting the season without a fit specialist defensive midfielder, with one of Curtis Jones or Alexis Mac Allister likely to start in the deep-lying 'number six' role against Chelsea on Sunday.

While Liverpool weigh up whether to make a fourth bid for Lavia, it has been reported that Southampton have not included the player in their plans for Tuesday night's EFL Cup tie, possibly giving an indication over his future.

Were Lavia to feature in the game at Gillingham, he would be ineligible to play for Liverpool in the same competition later in the season – should a transfer eventually come to fruition.

Belgian transfer reporter Sacha Tavolieri has claimed that Lavia was not in Southampton training on Tuesday morning, while the player's team are eager to close the transfer 'today'.

Whether Liverpool are prepared to return with another bid and can come to agreement on price with Southampton is unclear.

Earlier in the week, Southampton CEO Phil Parsons doubled down on the Saints' resolute stance insisting that no player will be sold 'on the cheap'.

He said: "We're actually in a position to make sure the finances balance out quite well and you do get hit substantially being relegated.

"We can trim the squad, we can sell assets if we want to. We won't be selling assets on the cheap. And that's why we stood firm on a few.

“We will develop a lot of players over the coming years and there will be players who gone on to join top-four clubs but we won't be doing it at a cheap rate, we will be doing it at the going rate. If clubs want to place offers with us, we will look at them. We won't be saying just yes to any offer through the door."

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