Lavia reveals why he snubbed Liverpool for Chelsea

Romeo Lavia signs for Chelsea || Credit: Chelsea/X

PREMIER LEAGUE: Lavia reveals why he snubbed Liverpool for Chelsea

Mark Kinyanjui 20:00 - 18.08.2023

Lavia had the choice to join Liverpool, but ultimately decided to snub the 19-time league winners for Mauricio Pochettino’s Belgium

As one of the hottest young talents in world football, it was unlikely Romeo Lavia’s future lay with relegated Southampton. 

The 19-year-old stood out in a struggling Saints side last season, belying his inexperience by showcasing an impressive touch, plenty of tenacity, and a striking passing range.

Lavia had the choice to join Liverpool, but ultimately decided to snub the 19-time league winners for Mauricio Pochettino’s Belgium

“Three factors determined my decision,” Lavia told the club’s official website.

“The project and the ambitions of the club were key factors in me choosing Chelsea, but also the history behind the club. It’s really exciting to be a part of this football club and to write some history.

“I’m really happy and proud. It’s a privilege to be able to put on this shirt. Most of the players we’ve signed are players I’ve played against, and thought ‘ooooof, these players are good’, so to be able to work with them is a great feeling.

Lavia is excited by the prospect of working in a team filled with young players, which could allow them to grow together.

“They are young players and good players, so it will be good to make each other better. That’s the only way to succeed.

The Belgian has also lauded Mauricio Pochettino’s pull behind his choice to join Chelsea.

“He’s a great manager. We all know what he’s done before.

“When I spoke to him, he was pretty clear on what he wanted, and the direction he wanted the team to go in. I was really pleased to hear what he wanted, and his energy was something that matched with mine."

Lavia is looking forward to getting to know his new team-mates. He regularly played against Belgium-born Diego Moreira at youth level, and he is also good pals with fellow Francophone Wesley Fofana.

“It seems to be a dressing room with a great vibe, and I just want to be a part of it,”  Lavia added 

The midfielder says he is a much better player for having a season of Premier League football under his belt, having featured 29 times for the Saints and scored his first goal against Chelsea at St Mary’s.

All the while, in what he considers the best league in the world, Lavia learned the art of protecting those players behind him, and enabling those further upfield to do their thing.

Lavia first moved to England aged just 16, leaving behind friends and family in his native Brussels, and in the height of the pandemic. Stuck inside, he had to show mental strength, and those experiences have only made him wiser and tougher. He expects his adaptation to life in SW6 to be quick.

Lavia’s final word does go to his family, who joined him on signing day at Cobham, as the next stage of his career commences in earnest.

“I’m really grateful for everything they’ve done for me," he stressed

“I wouldn’t be here without their constant support, so I’m happy to be able to share this moment with them.”