By George Overhill

29th Jun, 2022 | 6:10pm

Leeds United target Romeo Lavia set to move amid battle with Southampton

Manchester City are close to agreeing a deal with Southampton for Leeds United target Romeo Lavia, according to The Athletic.

The English champions are reportedly “reluctant” to let him go and a buy-back option is expected to be included in the deal.

The Athletic had reported earlier this month (16 June) that the Whites and the Saints were both after the teenage midfielder and that he could be used in a deal for Elland Road star Kalvin Phillips.

That deal was subsequently agreed last Friday (24 June) for an initial fee of £42million without the involvement of the 18-year-old, with Darko Gyabi instead coming the other way in a separate deal [David Ornstein].

Leeds were apparently still interested in his Etihad teammate, who made a pair of appearances for Pep Guardiola in the 2021/22 season.

However, according to the latest report: “It is understood Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have won the race to sign the midfielder.”

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Missed out

The south coast club had already signed goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu from City, while the Manchester side’s head of recruitment Joe Shields is also in talks to make the same switch.

That may have had a bearing on the situation, despite the recent negotiations between United as the reigning Premier League winners.

With Phillips on his way out the club are still looking for help in that department, as the £5million capture of Gyabi seen as one for the future.

Lavia may have fallen into the same bracket but his status appears to be greater than his former teammate so it is a disappointment to see him make a move but not to Elland Road.

Further midfield additions are to be expected, and judging by the pace that the club is moving this summer it shouldn’t be too long to wait.

Developments at Red Bull Salzburg, which is proving to be a favourite hunting ground in this window, suggest that Mohamed Camara may be the man tasked with filling the shoes of the departing local hero.

There haven’t been many races that the Whites have not finished first in since the off-season started but this one hasn’t ended in their favour.

In other Leeds United news, the biggest transfer saga at the club may be set to rumble on further as no official bid has been received from the team in charge of the race.