Manchester United are interested in Romeo Lavia as they assess midfield targets, but need to sell before they can buy.
The Independent's Miguel Delaney reports that Erik ten Hag wants another midfielder for his squad this summer. However, following the big-money arrivals of Andre Onana, Mason Mount and – imminently – Rasmus Hojlund for a combined total of well over £150m, the Red Devils will need to sell players before they can sign off on more arrivals.
The report claims that United are considering 'trying to trump Liverpool' in the race for 19-year-old Lavia, who Southampton value at £50m.
It is said that the Red Devils are hoping to offload deadwood like Brandon Williams, Donny van der Beek, Harry Maguire, Fred and Scott McTominay in order to free up funds.
Ten Hag had been linked with a move for Sofyan Amrabat of Fiorentina – a player also supposedly on Liverpool's radar – but the Morocco international has played it coy on his future, telling reporters after a pre-season game, via Fabrizio Romano: "I don’t know if I’m leaving … maybe I can stay here at Fiorentina."
As well as United, Liverpool also face competition from Arsenal, Chelsea and an unnamed foreign club in the chase for Lavia, but the Reds could yet return with a third bid for the Belgium international.
Having seen offers of £38m and £41m, including add-ons, rejected, Football Insider claim that the Reds are now ready to up their bid to £45m – still £5m shy of the Saints' asking price.
Southampton have held firm in their valuation of Lavia thus far, gaining confidence from the level of interest in the player and Liverpool's obvious need for midfield cover, having said goodbye to Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arthur Melo this summer.
It is widely reported that Liverpool and Lavia have already agreed personal terms, while the Reds are also examining a move for Fluminense's Andre Trindade.