Chelsea on Friday morning confirmed the signing of Belgian midfielder Romeo Lavia from Southampton on a seven-year contract after the player was courted by Premier League rivals, Liverpool.
Chelsea paid £53 million upfront and will pay Southampton an extra £5 million in add-ons for the former Manchester City prodigy.
Lavia, 19, will wear the No. 45 shirt after he jettisoned interest from Liverpool who planned to abandon their pursuit of him for Moises Caicedo on a bigger transfer budget.
“The project and the ambitions of the club were key factors in me choosing Chelsea, but also the history behind the club,” Lavia told the club’s official website.
“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.
“They are young players and good players, so it will be good to make each other better. That’s the only way to succeed.”
Lavia is entering his fourth season in England after leaving his boyhood club of Anderlecht at the age of 16 to join Manchester City’s Academy, having been spotted by Pep Guardiola at a youth tournament in Belgium organised by City captain, Kevin De Bruyne.
The teenager spent two seasons with City, quickly impressing at the youth level and seeing his fine form and development rewarded with a first-team debut in the EFL Cup against Wycombe Wanderers, winning City’s Elite Development Squad Player of the Season award in 2020/21.
Lavia was signed by Southampton last summer and made 29 Premier League appearances. He won possession 187 times over the course of the campaign and was one of only three teenagers at the start of 2022/23 to attempt at least 60 tackles across Europe’s top five leagues.
Izuchukwu Okosi is a Nigerian sports and entertainment journalist with two decades of experience in the media industry having begun his media journey in 2002 as an intern at Mundial Sports International (MSI) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), owners of Daar Communications Plc.
In October 2004, Okosi joined Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports newspaper and Complete Football magazine as a reporter and later script writer for the Complete Sports studio.
He worked there for 13 years until October 2017.
Okosi also worked various times as Correspondent, Content creator and Editor at Sports Market International Magazine, Opera News, All Nigeria Soccer Media and Iconic Media Watch.
He also undertook freelance writing gigs for some local and international organizations.
Okosi is a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Association of Voiceover Artistes of Nigeria (AVOA), Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He has been part of cast in some Nollywood movies and radio dramas including Blood Money 2, Scores To Settle, Dead End 2, Another Campus Tale and Battle Line.
Aside mainstream media and the entertainment industry, he has interests in scouting/unearthing of talents in the sports and creative sectors, exports business and property development.