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Liverpool could double their damage on Chelsea in the summer transfer window by signing one of their midfield targets as well as buying Mason Mount. The Reds are thought to be among the frontrunners for Mount although rivals Manchester United are now upping their interest in the England international.
Incoming Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino would prefer to keep Mount but there has been no progress in contract talks between the club and the player’s representatives since they were reopened. It appears more likely the 24-year-old midfielder will leave Stamford Bridge than stay.
And the Blues have begun to draw up a shortlist of targets as Pochettino reworks the squad this summer, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Conor Gallagher other midfielders who could leave. West Ham captain Declan Rice is one long-term target while Southampton’s Romeo Lavia is another.
The Saints were recently relegated from the Premier League despite keeping hold of Belgian Lavia, who Chelsea sought to sign for £50million in the summer. The 19-year-old defensive-minded midfielder had only joined from Manchester City two months earlier for a fee rising to £14m.
City have a buy-back clause worth £40m with it thought Southampton might look to sell for a fee even higher than that this summer prior to their Championship return. And Goal say Liverpool are among a clutch of clubs particularly keen on the player, having tracked his progress.
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The Reds are primarily working on deals for Alexis Mac Allister and Mount at the moment but it is claimed the Anfield recruitment staff think Lavia could make a difference under Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool signing him would be another setback for Chelsea, given Mount also looks likely to leave and Rice appears Arsenal bound.
Youssouf Fofana of Monaco is another target, while Sporting’s Manuel Ugarte and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Manu Kone are also being eyed. But Lavia – still a teenager – is the youngest of the lot and the Belgium international has a very high ceiling.
That Chelsea were willing to put such a big bid in for him 12 months demonstrates how highly they rate him. And Liverpool could pile on the pain by signing Mount and then also buying Lavia from Southampton to transform their midfield selection.
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Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has given his seal of approval on the potential signing of Mount. In conversation for The Anfield Wrap, he said: “Mason Mount is a funny one in that people always seem a little bit down on him for whatever reason. I’ve never got it, I’m a huge fan. He’s a Champions League winner.
“I really like him. He’s got energy to press. He’d provide a greater goal threat from midfield than we have maybe from Jordan [Henderson] in that position right now. Mount works hard. Every top manager who’s been at Chelsea has picked him.
“He plays for England and I think the club have also got to be thinking about that English homegrown situation. [James] Milner’s moving on, [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joe Gomez doesn’t play every week and at some stage will look to move on, Jordan’s getting older.
“That’s got to be in the back of their minds. If we bought Mac Allister and Mason Mount in I’d be delighted with that. I definitely want us to bring in a defensive midfield player as well.”
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