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Chelsea in hot water as £53m gamble to beat Jurgen Klopp officially backfires

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Chelsea in hot water as £53m gamble to beat Jurgen Klopp officially backfires

 

 

Chelsea’s attempt to get one up on Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool has failed spectacularly.

 

Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly has been left red-faced with his move to sign Romeo Lavia ahead of Liverpool having backfired. The Belgian international has played just half an hour for Chelsea this season, with his campaign believed to be over following yet another injury setback.

 

It’s been a contrasting couple of seasons for Lavia, who this time last year was being touted as one of the Premier League’s best young talents. That excitement carried over into the summer transfer window too, with Lavia attracting plenty of attention from the division’s biggest clubs following an impressive season with basement club Southampton.

 

Chelsea’s interest in the teenager came early, but it looked like the west Londoners could be pipped to his signature when Liverpool crashed the party by submitting their own bid for Lavia. However, having had their initial offer of £34million laughed off, Liverpool saw a further two bids rejected by the south coast outfit – one reported to be worth £40m and another in the region of £46m.

 

That’s because Southampton had their hearts set on a fee in excess of £50m for the Manchester City academy graduate, who still had four years left on his contract at the St Mary’s Stadium. In the end, money talked and as has often been the case with Boehly in the transfer market, Chelsea got their way.

 

Lavia arrived at Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2023/24 campaign, penning a seven-year contract with the club, after Southampton eventually sanctioned his sale for a deal that could rise as high as £58m. But, less than one year into his Chelsea career, the transfer has so far been a failure.

 

Injuries have plagued the midfielder’s campaign from start to finish, with a 32-minute cameo against Crystal Palace in December likely to be the only time he sees the pitch in a Chelsea shirt this season. And given the two-time European champions’ precarious position with FFP, it doesn’t look as if they’ll be able to cut their losses and sign a replacement. Instead, they’re stuck with an injury-prone midfielder, who come pre-season will have played almost no competitive football during the last 12 months.

 

It’s proved a lucky escape for Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool though, as the Premier League title challengers would’ve been left with a £50m black hole in his squad had the Lavia deal gone through. In the end, Liverpool landed on Japanese international Wataru Endo for the modest price of £16.2m – a masterstroke in comparison to Chelsea’s cataclysmic Lavia deal

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