What is going on with former Saints starlet Lavia? Chelsea dealt more bad news

FORMER Saints star­let Romeo Lavia has been ruled out for the rest of the sea­son through injury, it has been con­firmed. 

The 20 year old has played just 32 min­utes for Chelsea this cam­paign fol­low­ing a mega-mon­ey sum­mer trans­fer.

He will not recov­er in time to play again before the end of the term due to a thigh injury sus­tained on his one appear­ance for the club.

Lavia was vot­ed the South­ern Dai­ly Echo’s 2022–23 Play­er of the Year in his only sea­son at the club.

He made 29 Pre­mier League appear­ances for Saints, scor­ing his only goal against the Blues on a night he also picked up a ham­string injury. 

Daily Echo: Romeo Lavia has battled injury problems already in his careerRomeo Lavia has bat­tled injury prob­lems already in his career

The one-cap Bel­gian inter­na­tion­al was on the verge of mak­ing the World Cup squad in 2022 before he was made unavail­able. 

Lavia missed nine match­es due to the con­cern but that was noth­ing com­pared to what he has suf­fered at Stam­ford Bridge. 

Fol­low­ing the club’s rel­e­ga­tion from the Pre­mier League, Lavia was one of sev­er­al play­ers to make clear his ambi­tion to leave. 

He par­took in pre-sea­son but team­mates worked them­selves ahead of him while he wait­ed for a move to come to fruition. 

Speak­ing about Lavia and James Ward-Prowse, Rus­sell 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.”

Daily Echo: Romeo Lavia and former Man City teammate Shea Charles in pre-seasonRomeo Lavia and for­mer Man City team­mate Shea Charles in pre-sea­son (Image: Richard Crease)

Lavia cost Saints just over £10million to acquire from Man­ches­ter City, where he had been scout­ed from Ander­lecht at the age of 16. 

Much maligned Sport Repub­lic boss Ras­mus Ankersen nego­ti­at­ed Lavi­a’s exit and pro­duced a mas­ter­class for the books. 

Liv­er­pool liked the like­ly des­ti­na­tion before the Blues bid at the 11th hour, as first report­ed by the Dai­ly Echo​. 

Chelsea agreed to pay £53million for the young­ster, with a por­tion of that being paid back to Man City due to a sell-on clause. 

Lavia twist­ed his ankle in team train­ing in the sum­mer and had to wait until Decem­ber for his club debut. 

He already faced a stern test get­ting into the Chelsea team, with £200million worth of mid­field­ers in Enzo Fer­nan­dez and Moi­ses Caice­do alone. 

Blues boss Mauri­cio Pochet­ti­no does award min­utes to young play­ers despite the league’s biggest spenders strug­gling this sea­son. 

Daily Echo: Romeo Lavia has made only one appearance for Chelsea since a summer moveRomeo Lavia has made only one appear­ance for Chelsea since a sum­mer move (Image: PA)

Talk­ing about Lavia, he said: “He is doing well but he still needs time for his best form. All of the play­ers after a big peri­od, they are des­per­ate to be involved.

“Even a mes­sage for the play­er, they can­not make the mis­take. They want to be involved but we are com­pe­ti­tion and the com­pe­ti­tion is seri­ous.

‘They need to train real­ly hard every day, because they need to have an impact every time they go onto the pitch. It’s not pre-sea­son games.” 

Hav­ing signed a sev­en-year con­tract, keep­ing him secure until 2030, Lavia is already set for life finan­cial­ly. 

His moti­va­tion now is only to ful­fil his vast poten­tial, with any chances of mak­ing EURO 2024 for Bel­gium undone. 

Get­ting back fit for pre-sea­son will be essen­tial — whether it is Pochet­ti­no or a new boss in charge at Chelsea’s Cob­ham cen­tre.