Manchester United could make a “surprise” move for Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia, according to the Daily Mail.
The English tabloid claim that, while Liverpool remain the favourites for the Belgian’s signature, the Red Devils, Chelsea and an unnamed foreign club could all make bids for the player.
There are two factors that would still make a move for Lavia unlikely. Firstly, his £50m valuation would mean that United will have to raise funds through player sales first.
Southampton are sticking to their asking price, having rejected a second bid of £42m from Liverpool on Tuesday. The opportunity is there for Erik ten Hag’s side to hijack the move but outgoings are needed.
Secondly, the Red Devils have already lined up a cheaper alternative in Sofyan Amrabat who is available for half the price.
After spending nearly £200m on new signings, United don’t have room for manoeuvre
The Manchester club were reportedly planning a net spend of around £120m for the summer but, if Rasmus Hojlund’s move to Old Trafford is finalised, they would have spent £182m (excluding add-ons) without recouping any through sales.
For that reason, United do not have the finances available to table a £50m bid for Lavia right now and it means Amrabat is seen as the more attainable target.
The state of play for potential departures
If the likes of Fred, Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay, Dean Henderson and, perhaps, even Harry Maguire are sold in the next couple of weeks, an approach could be made for Lavia, if he is still available.
Reports have, though, suggested that only Fred is likely to leave at the moment. Van de Beek’s move to Real Sociedad has stalled. There are increasing doubts about Nottingham Forest’s pursuit of Henderson, while no team is currently prepared to match the valuations of either McTominay or Maguire.