Newcastle could explore a deal for teenage sensation Romeo Lavia in the summer, with his buy-back clause not yet eligible, according to journalist Ben Jacobs.
What’s the latest on Romeo Lavia?
The 19-year-old has been a shining light in an otherwise dismal season for Southampton, for whom relegation looks almost certain.
The Belgium international has been linked with a number of clubs since his arrival from Manchester City less than a year ago, and now Newcastle are thought to be admirers ahead of a potential summer move for the defensive midfielder.
Jacobs has confirmed that whilst Man City have a buy-back clause in his contract, they are unable to trigger it at present, which could provide a boost for other interested parties.
Speaking on NUFC Matters, Jacobs suggested that Newcastle could look at Lavia in the summer as they aim to strengthen their squad for the challenge of European football.
“They do have a buy-back clause, but it remains to be seen whether they’ll activate it – but that’s absolutely true.
“There is an option there; it’s not currently eligible to be activated, which is why we’ve seen a lot of sides work on the Lavia side now to try and explore whether they can get a deal done – with Chelsea being one of them.
“I think Newcastle could look, for sure, but there’s a whole range of defensive midfielders that the club have been linked [with] and a lot will depend on Southampton.
“If they go down, then he’ll almost certainly leave, but also, which clubs have got Champions League football? And that’s where Newcastle are suddenly in a very strong position.”
Do Newcastle need Lavia?
Although Eddie Howe’s side have a lot of quality in midfield, with Bruno Guimaraes and Joe Willock playing particularly well, depth may prove to be a problem for them next season, especially if they qualify for the Champions League without sufficient rotation options.
He may come with a substantial price tag given he only moved in the summer for an initial £10.5m with a sell-on clause included, but Lavia could be the perfect solution to this issue. At 19, he would be a strong long-term alternative for the club, and he would arrive with a season of Premier League experience under his belt.
Kevin De Bruyne even sang the praises of his Belgium teammate, claiming that Lavia was “very good” and backed him to become a “top player” – so Newcastle may wish to move for him before Man City’s buy-back clause becomes available to them.
Prior to this weekend, Lavia has made 30 appearances this term, and would add extra depth to what is a thin Newcastle midfield. Newcastle have failed to win any of the six games that Guimaraes has missed in the Premier League so far, and having an extra quality midfielder available as cover could make a huge difference next season.
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