By George Overhill

3rd Sep, 2022 | 7:00pm

Chelsea offered Southampton £50million for Romeo Lavia on deadline day - Fabrizio Romano

Chelsea offered to pay Southampton £50million to sign Romeo Lavia on transfer deadline day but were refused, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The teenage midfielder only arrived at St Mary’s in July from Manchester City, for £38million less, but Todd Boehly was willing to shell out a huge amount to sign the youngster the day after he scored against the Blues in a 2-1 victory for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side (30 September).

Chelsea have been on a major recruitment drive of up-and-coming talent since the American bought the club, signing the likes of Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa, Cesare Casedei from Inter, Arsenal’s Omari Hutchinson and Brighton’s Zak Sturge.

Writing on his personal Twitter account on Saturday (3 September) Romano said: “Behind the scenes. Chelsea wanted to sign Romeo Lavia on Deadline Day with £50m verbal proposal rejected by Southampton — of course, he’s untouchable.

“Southampton invested £12m plus add-ons for Lavia — and Man City have £40m buy back clause.”

The 18-year-old has made seven appearances in senior football for City and the Saints combined, and picked up an injury in the meeting between the two sides of the negotiation that has ruled him out for six weeks, but that apparently did not put off Chelsea.

Crazy

As much as the investing in the future at Stamford Bridge appears like a sensible decision this move is staggering, and perhaps all the more so because one of the easiest £38million profits in football was turned down, so highly do they rate the player on the south coast.

The first team business since Boehly bought the at times has been hard to understand, such as spending £62million on left-back Marc Cucurella just as £50million and much-missed Ben Chilwell was back at full fitness.

After spending £33million on Kalidou Koulibaly and another £75million to eventually break down Leicester’s resistance on Wesley Fofana was one thing to fill the gaps left by Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, but immediately offering another €90million [£77million] for Josko Gvardiol was similarly wild.

If Chelsea wanted Lavia then they could have made their move when Southampton did, as Boehly had been in charge for a month at that time.

It is almost as if Lavia’s strike to equalise in the win over the Blues 24-hours earlier had brought him to their attention and the knee-jerk reaction in the dying days of the transfer window was to offer massive money for anything that moved, especially if whatever moved was 21-years-old or under.

With the tactics under Thomas Tuchel looking unsettled and the strategy in the market at best confusing it is a strange time at Stamford Bridge.

Supporters’ fears that the age of big spending was over with the exit of Roman Abramovich have been put to rest in a major way by shelling out more than anyone else in the world during the summer window, but even they might be getting slightly uncomfortable about the sustainability of this model, especially with master-negotiator Marina Granovskaia no longer around to offset the expenditure with sales.

In other Chelsea news, the club agreed to let Callum Hudson-Odoi leave on loan during the window.