Liverpool handed harsh transfer lesson amid Moises Caicedo – Romeo Lavia fiasco

Liverpool came into the summer transfer window needing to revitalise their midfield after a disappointing Premier League campaign.

Liverpool missed out on UEFA Champions League qualification after finishing fifth in the Premier League table last season. And their poor midfield performances were their undoing last season. The Reds made an impressive start to the summer transfer window by signing World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister.

The Argentine midfielder was brought in to replace Naby Keita, who left the club as a free agent earlier this summer. Liverpool backed it up with the ambitious signing of the Hungarian international Dominik Szoboszlai. The 22-year-old arrived on the back of an exceptional campaign in the Bundesliga, and he is widely regarded as one of the best young midfield talents around.

With hopes high and the fans buzzing, Liverpool now needed to bring in a quality defensive midfielder. Brazilian midfielder Fabinho seemed like a shadow of his former self last season, and club captain Jordan Henderson was rather underwhelming as well.

Liverpool decided to cash in on both players following lucrative proposals from Saudi Arabian clubs. With the midfield severely lacking in depth, the Reds were in desperate need of a defensive midfielder.

The Merseyside club were heavily linked with a move for Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia. Despite multiple offers for the Belgian midfielder, the Reds struggled to secure an agreement with the recently-relegated club. Southampton were reportedly holding out for a fee of around £60 million for the 19-year-old defensive midfielder.

Lavia had an impressive Premier League 2022/23 campaign, and his performances caught the attention of the top clubs despite Southampton’s relegation. Premier League rivals Chelsea were keen on the Belgian as well. However, it appeared that Liverpool were the front-runners to secure his services, and the player was reportedly keen on the move as well.

After lowballing Southampton with a number of offers, Liverpool decided to cool their interest in the Belgian midfielder and proceeded to agree on a British transfer record move with Brighton and Hove Albion for Moises Caicedo.

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The former Brighton midfielder had been in talks with Chelsea for months regarding a summer move. But the Reds took a bold step and decided to splash the cash on him. With a medical pencilled in, Caicedo refused a move to Anfield and decided to wait for Chelsea to agree on a deal with Brighton. The 21-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder was always intent on a move to Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool’s decision to move for Caicedo left the 19-year-old Southampton midfielder bemused, and the Belgian reportedly felt betrayed. The Reds decided to return for Lavia after accepting defeat in the race for Caicedo. But the Southampton midfielder had already made up his mind with Chelsea waiting in the wings.

The Blues proceeded to agree on a deal with Southampton and the 19-year-old chose to accept a move to Stamford Bridge as well. For a club that was widely regarded as the best-run project in European football just a few years ago, the Lavia-Caicedo saga has exposed the mess behind the scenes at Anfield brutally.

Liverpool are clearly lacking in strategy and direction right from the top. The departure of Michael Edwards has severely hurt their transfer business and Jorg Schmadtke’s arrival from Germany on a temporary deal has hardly helped.

The last-minute approach for Caicedo showed Liverpool’s lack of groundwork necessary to complete a big money transfer. In the process, they left a willing and talented prospect like Lavia angered as well.

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The Reds have now missed out on two exceptional midfield talents. With Fabinho sold, the club are in a sticky situation as far as their search for a defensive midfielder is concerned. With just a few days remaining in the summer transfer window, Liverpool might just need to press the panic button, and it remains to be seen how they bail themselves out of the situation.

The Merseyside club are reportedly closing in on signing Wataru Endo from VfB Stuttgart. While the Japanese international is an experienced and reliable performer, Lavia and Caicedo would have been far better long-term signings.

Liverpool have not just exposed their indecisiveness and lack of strategy this summer, but they have also left themselves vulnerable during the latter stages of the window with the selling clubs fully aware of Liverpool’s capacity to spend a British transfer record sum on one player. While the Reds have identified other potential alternatives like Cheick Doucoure, clubs like Crystal Palace will look to demand fees closer to that of Caicedo and exploit Liverpool’s vulnerabilities.

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