Southampton boss offers Lavia update after Liverpool have second bid rejected

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Liverpool's opening bids for Romeo Lavia have been rejected (Image: Getty Images)

Liverpool transfer target Romeo Lavia will feature for Southampton in their Championship curtain raiser away to Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night.

New Saints boss Russell Martin said that the midfielder, who has been the subject of two rejected bids from the Premier League giants, is in the matchday squad alongside captain James Ward-Prowse, amid interest from West Ham among others.

But Martin added that he has no idea if Lavia or Ward-Prowse will remain at St Mary’s come the start of September.

“Both will be involved tomorrow night as it stands, I don’t know if anything will change between now and then,” Martin said. “Do I think they will be Southampton players by the end of the window? I have not got a clue. What I hope and what I think are probably very different.

“However, it would be pointless to come out and say I think they’ll be here or I don’t because ultimately I have no control over that really. If they’re both not here at some point or one of them isn’t it will be because the club and the player have both had something that is beneficial for everyone.

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“I think that’s why it has dragged on so long so far and I think it might continue to drag on, but both of them while they have been here have been great, at very different stages of their career.”

Saints are demanding £50m for Lavia, the 19-year-old Belgian, and earlier this week turned down Liverpool ’s second offer of about £40m. The south coast club value Ward-Prowse at £30m, leading to West Ham pausing their interest as they search for midfield reinforcements following Declan Rice ’s £105m sale to Arsenal.

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Centre back Mohammed Salisu is the only notable Saints player to have departed so far, joining Monaco for about £12m, and Martin added that he was pleased with how the squad have dealt with speculation around their futures.

“The preparations have probably gone as well as we could have hoped, especially with all the noise surrounding the players and that stuff,” he said.

“They’ve coped with it really well and I’ve got so much respect and gratitude for what they’ve given us over the last few weeks – I’m really pleased with that.

“The team has probably changed twice since the start of this week and it will probably change again tomorrow depending on what happens.

“It is what it is and it shows the club have is done well in terms of the profile of player they have recruited over the last 18 months to two years – we’ve got many assets.

“I think the players have dealt with it really well. We have to put out a team tomorrow night that is capable of being fully present and all-in on what we’re trying to do.”

Alan Smith

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