Despite selling Nemanja Matic last summer, Erik ten Hag still has several defensive midfielders on the books.
Casemiro and Scott McTominay are regular first-team players, Marcel Sabitzer signed on loan to play multiple roles in January and Kobbie Mainoo is waiting in the wings.
However, as things stand, Manchester United are on the hunt for a permanent addition to the engine room this summer.
Pete O’Rourke told Give Me Sport that Romeo Lavia is on the Red Devils’ radar, saying: “United have been linked to him as well.”
The 19-year-old joined Southampton from Manchester City last summer and has made 22 appearances in his debut season, bagging one goal and one assist.
Lavia is highly-rated, having been tipped by Axel Witsel to represent Belgium in the future, but Ten Hag would have to sell one or more current players to make room for the midfielder.
McTominay has featured in 18 top-flight games but has started just one since October, so there’s a good chance Lavia would get immediate game time at United, especially if United send Mainoo out on loan.
The Scottish international is United’s direct cover to Casemiro, but Lavia averages more tackles per game (1.9 to 1.4), more interceptions per game (1.1 to 0.6) and more chances per game (0.5 to 0.2)
He also has more successful dribbles per game (0.7 to 0.6), more passes per game (30.2 to 17.3) and better accuracy (86.5% to 83.3%), so he would improve the United squad immediately.
Man City have the first refusal at £40 million as per the terms of his deal last summer, but it’s unlikely they will move so soon to sign him back.
If McTominay is moved on in the coming months, Lavia would be a good replacement and possibly cheaper than the £40m fee quoted, with TransferMarkt pricing him at close to £20m.
Southampton signed him for £10m last summer and should at least double their investment in one year.
Stats from Transfermarkt and WhoScored
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