Romeo Lavia Chelsea transfer: How could Pochettino line up with the Belgian?

It would appear that Chelsea are set to bolster their midfielder options with the acquisition of Southampton's Romeo Lavia is a big-money deal. The latest on the move is that Chelsea entered the race alongside Liverpool, with Sky Sports News indicating that Mauricio Pochettino's side are in advanced talks with the in-demand youngster.

Lavia, aged 19 and born in Belgium, has been the subject of transfer speculation in the off-season, ever since Southampton's relegation into the Championship was confirmed. The Saints have since lost James Ward-Prowse and Tino Livramento in recent weeks, whilst Che Adams may be another to move on. Lavia's switch to Chelsea looks ominous, and Pochettino will soon add a top talent to his roster.

The midfield area has arguably been the one area of the Chelsea squad that has been in need of an overhaul this summer. Perhaps not as much as in the case of Liverpool, who saw Fabinho and Jordan Henderson depart for clubs in Saudi Arabia. Still, Chelsea have seen Mateo Kovačić, N'Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek exit the club from this area of the pitch, so reinforcements were always needed.

Romeo Lavia Transfer
Southampton's Romeo Lavia (left) and Bournemouth's Ryan Christie battle for the ball during the pre-season friendly match at St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Tuesday July 25, 2023. – Photo by Icon sport

Reinforcements were always expected purely because of the new management aspect at the club anyway. Last season was too bad to be true given the high standards set by Chelsea, so something of a facelift was very much the name of the game to try and put last season fully behind them. Many new faces have entered the club, including Moises Caicedo, also to improve midfielder options. With Lavia set to come in, the question is how Poch will set up his team?

The Premier League returned over the last weekend, and we all got an eye on how teams set up and are likely to do so over the coming campaign. Pochettino oversaw Chelsea's 1-1 home draw with Liverpool, a game where they dominated possession and created the better chances throughout. Therefore, there were many encouraging signs, but with Caicedo coming in and Lavia likely as well, it remains to be seen who will become regulars in his XI.

Caicedo almost certainly will be given the fee they paid Brighton for him. Chelsea paid £100million up front for the Ecuadorian, and that could rise to £115million based on various adds-on, which would make him the most expensive British transfer of all-time, for now. Lavia is set to cost around £50million, but does that mean he'll walk straight into the side?

In the short-term, it is expected Lavia will need a bit of time to settle into Chelsea. He has had a very disrupted pre-season with Southampton whilst his future has been up in the air. He is yet to take to the field for his current club in competitive action this season, so he will be low on match fitness. Either Pochettino gives him minutes off the bench, or throws him straight in. He clearly likes the player, but he'll get better over the months of the season the more he plays.

Brighton and Hove Albion's Moises Caicedo reacts during the Emirates FA Cup semi-final match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday April 23, 2023. – Photo by Icon sport

Chelsea lined up in a very interchangeable and fluid system in the Chelsea match. In possession it was very much a 3-5-2 shape, but when Liverpool broke forward they switched to something more resembling of a 4-4-1-1. Finding a spot for the likes of Caicedo and Lavia is the next question, which would mean others missing out.

Likely Chelsea line-up: Defence

Robert Sanchez looks to have the gloves at present, especially with Kepa now moving on to Real Madrid. The back three should largely be untouched as well, with Thiago Silva very much the first name on the team sheet, whilst Levi Colwill looks set for a huge role this season, along with recent signing Axel Disasi, who scored on his debut very Liverpool.

The two wing back positions will certainly be retained by new captain Reece James and also fellow England international Ben Chilwell. Keeping them both fit will be key to Chelsea's prospects in the season to come.

Likely Chelsea line-up: Midfield

This is the big talking point for Chelsea as ultimately they have one, maybe two, next signings to integrate into the team. The reality is that Caicedo will come straight into the team, that is just without question. Another obvious selection is Enzo Fernandez, who was another big-money, high-profile signing. Pochettino needs these two to click, so expect them to start more often than not.

So, would Lavia come straight into the team if he signs? One player who may have something to say about that is Conor Gallagher, who improved as the game went on against Liverpool, and his performance makes him hard to drop right now. As mentioned, Lavia would need time to get up to speed, so Gallagher is likely to remain in the XI, but Lavia will be pushing him once he is ready.

Conor Gallagher
Photo by Icon Sport

Likely Chelsea line-up: Attack

Nicolas Jackson has already made a positive impression during his short time at Stamford Bridge, and appears to be a certain starter, unless Pochettino adds another forward to this area of the pitch. Raheem Sterling started alongside him on Sunday, but that was only the case due to the injury sustained by Christopher Nkunku during pre-season.

As things start, it would very much be a partnership of Jackson and Nkunku when both are fully-fit. You can never write Chelsea off in the transfer market given their spending power, so a new forward may soon come in, especially with Nkunku set for a few months out of action.

Likely Chelsea XI

(3-5-2) Sanchez – Disasi, Silva, Colwill – James, Caicedo, Fernandez, Gallagher, Chilwell – Nkunku, Jackson

Chelsea are next in Premier League action on Sunday when they make the short trip to face West Ham United.