Arsenal look set to give up on their pursuit of Romeo Lavia and keep Thomas Partey instead, Fabrizio Romano has hinted.
The Southampton midfielder caught the interest of Mikel Arteta earlier in this window, but Liverpool are now bidding for the teenager and there is now indication that Arsenal will make a move for him.
Partey was linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, and Lavia may have been seen as his replacement, but Arsenal’s interest in Lavia has gone quiet, hinting that Partey could be set to stay.
Romano revealed that Liverpool have made a second bid for Lavia, with Southampton asking for a £50m total package, and it now seems unlikely that Arsenal will throw their hat in the ring for the Belgian wonderkid.
Thomas Partey or Romeo Lavia?
If Arsenal keep Partey, then there will not be much space for Lavia in the squad. Partey, alongside record signing Declan Rice and January arrival Jorginho, have the defensive midfield position covered, and Lavia would be unlikely to gain much game time with the Gunners.
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Even if Partey left, it is arguable that the 19-year-old would not have been an adequate replacement. Although the former Manchester City youngster is talented, he is very inexperienced compared to Partey, with just one top-flight season under his belt, having been relegated with Southampton.
Statistically, Partey ranks as far superior to Lavia right now, and he was one of Arsenal’s most important players last season. It remains to be seen if he will still have a starting spot under Mikel Arteta thanks to the signings of Rice and Kai Havertz, but he could still have an important role to play over the course of the season, and Lavia may not have been ready to step into his shoes.
Spending £50m on an inexperienced youngster from a Championship side is a high-risk move, and given that Arsenal look unlikely to receive a higher sum for Partey, spending such a large figure to downgrade their options in the short-term will not have been a positive move.