The Gunners could unlock a midfield great in the Belgian teen.
Arsenal remain in the hunt for their first Premier League title since 2004, as the Gunners hope for Manchester City to fumble in their final run-in.
Mikel Arteta’s side have been front-runners for the majority of the season, however when injury struck the defence, form came to a halt in April, costing them points at a vital time and taking the league out of their hands.
Defensive blows to both William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu proved too costly to the north Londoners, ultimately highlighting their lack of depth in comparison to league leaders City.
Now that Arteta knows what it takes to go all the way, Arsenal are reportedly looking towards the summer transfer window already, with a number of players speculated to be on their radar.
One of those linked with a move to the Emirates is£45mSouthampton midfielder Romeo Lavia.
As reported byFabrizio Romanoearlier this year, the Gunners are one of a host of teams interested in the former Manchester City academy player, who has been magnificent for the struggling Saints.
The headlines regarding Arsenal are dominated by talk ofDeclan Ricepotentially relocating across London, however, with Granit Xhakarumouredto be leaving this summer, chances for a midfield rebuild are there.
How can Romeo Lavia improve Arsenal?
Described by Southampton correspondent Benjy Nurick as an “absolute monster“, the midfielder displays the talent of a true holding player, acting as a metronome in the middle of the park.
At just 19 years old the Belgian is competing among Europe’s elite this season, despite being in a Championship-bound squad.
The Brussels-born teen ranks in the top 9% for blocks made per 90 minutes this season in Europe’s top five leagues for midfielders, averages a pass completion rate of 86.1% – as perFBref– and sits inside the top 7% for fouls drawn as a marker of his industrious and bustling nature.
The signing of the young midfielder with heaps of potential resonates with the capture of Cesc Fabregas in 2003, who joined Arsenal’s academy to become the World Cup-winning footballing legend he is today.
The Spaniard arrived in north London and quickly became a world-beater in midfield, orchestrating attacks with his innate ability to read the game. Similar attributes are shown by Lavia, who has been described by Paul Scholes as being a player who “sets the play in motion.”
The Manchester United legend went on to say the Belgian has “so much potential” and is as good going forward as he is sitting back in midfield.
That was certainly the case for that man Fabregas, who scored19 goalsand registered 17 assists in the 2009/10 campaign. That was at the peak of his powers with the Spaniard eventually moving back into a deeper role, but even then, he won2.3tackles per game, similar to Lavia’stwo per game.
It’s unlikely the teenager will ever register those attacking numbers but he could certainly act as a metronomic presence in the way Fabregas did in the later stages of his Premier League career.
That said, with this being Lavia’s first full season playing senior first-team football, the sky is the limit for the teen sensation, who if nurtured correctly at a club like Arsenal, could prove to be one for the ages at the Emirates.