Liverpool target Romeo Lavia will cost £50m this summer, with Southampton 'confident' that the widespread interest in their star man means they can stick to their high valuation.
The 19-year-old Belgian is one of a few players to come out of the Saints doomed campaign with some credit and looks highly unlikely to spend next season in the Championship, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool among those linked.
Reports have suggested that Liverpool have made Lavia their number one defensive midfield target as they continue their rebuild. However, some have suggested that the Reds may choose to offload one of their current options before making any more signings, having already spent £95m on Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai. Thiago has been touted as once such name.
Regardless of their outgoings, getting Lavia on the cheap will not be an option, with Southampton sticking firm to their £50m price tag.
Melissa Reddy writes for Sky Sports that the club are "resigned to losing" their star, but the amount of interest in his transfer and the fact that Manchester City would claim 20% of the fee in a sell-on clause means they are not looking to compromise on price and are "confident" they can get a deal.
The price tag may prove cause for hesitation from Liverpool, who are looking for value in the market, having already ditched interest in Jude Bellingham and Mason Mount over similar concerns.
However, Fabrizio Romano, speaking to GIVEMESPORT, claims that Liverpool could yet get "creative" in a deal for the Belgian, suggesting that they could opt for a deal that includes add-ons or player exchanges.
The Reds may have to make up their mind soon, with the Times claiming earlier in the week that Arsenal could make a bid for Lavia once their club-record deal for Declan Rice is completed.
Liverpool might have an edge in the race if they do choose to make an offer that meets Southampton's valuation. Jacque Talbot writes for Footballtransfers that — despite Lavia's agency's ties to Arsenal — the player's desire is a move to Anfield, having already had a positive conversation with Jurgen Klopp.