The highly-rated Belgium international is still seen as most likely to join Mikel Arteta’s side but the development of the deal has created a flurry of interest.
Southampton want a minimum of £45m for Lavia following their relegation to the Championship, but that could rise if a bidding war develops.
Arsenal initially turned to the 19-year-old because Brighton’s Moises Caicedo was seen as much more difficult to do but could now face considerable competition.
Chelsea’s entire new model is to bring in the most highly rated young talent to construct a squad for the future that can challenge now and Lavia exactly fits that. There is the added element that the midfielder has a very strong relationship with Chelsea’s Joe Shields, who brought him to Southampton in the first place and has since moved to Stamford Bridge.
Liverpool have also been considering a move as they seek to bring in a second midfielder after Alexis Mac Allister this summer, although they also retain interest in Internazionale’s Nicolo Barella and Nice’s Khephren Thuram.
United have other priorities but are re-assessing their options due to the high price of a striker, and Lavia is seen as one of those precocious talents that could solve a team position for years to come.
Lavia’s contract has a clause that means Manchester City have an option in 2024, having sold the teenager to Southampton last summer, but they are not currently interested in exercising that.
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